A Fatwa on Purdah

فتوى على حجاب

Unveiling Niqab, Burqa, Chador and Hijab

كشف النقاب ، البرقع ، الشادور والحجاب

Dhushara

 

Arabic version   PDF   Video   Song Track  Lyrics

 

Contents

 

1.     Introduction: Not Being a One-eyed Woman

2.     Does the Qur’an Require Women to be Veiled?

3.     A History of the Prophet’s Statements on the Veil

4.     Nine Reasons why Muslim Women Might Adopt the Veil

5.     Abrogating Violent Punishments for Adultery

6.     Ending Sequestering of Women

7.     Sexual Biology, Human Culture and Religious Oppression

8.     Parallels and Differences: Islamic, Christian and other forms of Patriarchal Oppression

9.     Abrogating Hadith on Veiling

 

Sister sites: Sakina Ka’aba   Sakina.org   Islam, Jihad and Sakina 

1.     Introduction: Not being a One-Eyed Woman

 

Afghani girl practicing a one-eyed niqab

 

This article is a fatwa to unveil the veil and liberate the world from violent and lethal punishments for adultery. It is designed to be explanatory, for Muslims, and non-Muslims alike, on the status of the veil, and its more oppressive forms.  If you are a Muslim, it is set out as a valid religious opinion. If you are not a Muslim, its grounds are human common sense and compassion. It includes scientific and biological arguments, which are valid for all human beings, traversing all human cultures, and have implications for the practices of other religions as well as Islam. In religious terms, this is a fatwa rejecting the claim that, under Muslim teachings, women are required to wear the veil, or that it is desirable to do so.

 

It has come about now, because a conservative Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia has called on women to wear a full veil, or niqab, that reveals only one eye [1]. Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan, an influential ultra-conservative cleric [2], known for cursing the Olympic games as showing ‘obscene scenes’ and giving a fatwa that permits the killing of the owners of satellite TV stations who show "immoral" content, who was answering questions on the Muslim satellite channel al-Majd, said showing both eyes encouraged women to use eye make-up to look seductive.

 

Although the one-eyed niqab is part of an older tradition, noted in the hadith, when a religion gets to the point of issuing a command that half the people on the planet are to be allowed to see only through one eye, whenever they go out in the world, it brings that religion into disrepute.

 

To cut out one eye from being able to perceive the world at large, is an assault on the most basic integrity and autonomy of the human being. The need to cover the woman entirely comes from a mistaken notion that because women are beautiful and attractive, they are entirely awrah (sexual parts), and thus must be entirely concealed, even to covering one eye, or they will pose a shameful threat to themselves and to their family, through being uncontrollably attractive to strange men.

 

It can also result in permanent damage to binocular vision, causing the covered eye to wander or become 'lazy', even in young Western women or men who do it for a period as a fashion. Teenagers who wear long fringes swept over one eye may suffer from amblyopia later on in life. Optometrists Association national executive member Andrew Hogan said the hair acts as an eye patch, limiting the eye's sensory stimulation, meaning the eye will see poorly compared to the other. "If if it happens from a young age, that eye can become amblyotic [lazy]."

 

This is an assault, not only on women, the sex who bear the living generations of humanity, but on men, social trust, the natural world, and our access to it.  It stands alongside dire punishments, such as stoning women for adultery, which are an affront to the basm-allah بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم “Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate”. Neither niqab, nor stoning, are in the Qur’an, so it is a time to take stock and make the way clear, so women will not continue to be oppressed.

 

 

Having two eyes is a fundamental adaptation of all living organisms. There is not one animal that has only one eye, from vertebrates, through insects to molluscs. Having two eyes when going out in the world is pivotal for survival, because it enables binocular depth perception. If God made all the animals in this way, it was for good reason, it is inconceivable that He would deny it to the females of the human race, who bear the live young of the next generation, simply because they are, and must needs be, attractive to men, for the generations to prosper and survive. To deny this to a woman in the world at large because she may be attractive to men is a diabolical punishment invented by male jealousy, not God.

 


 

Burqa an affront to human dignity say Muslim women July 2011 NZ Herald
A Muslim women's group is expected to tell a public forum in NZ tonight that the burqa is not a requirement in Islam and it is "an affront to human dignity" for women to be forced to wear it. Sisters in Islam say "There is enough literature to show that the face veil is not a requirement in Islam. In a conservative, patriarchal Muslim context, face veiling really symbolises women's invisibility and inferior status. That a woman should not be seen and heard, and should she venture into the public space she must be as invisible as possible, is an affront to human dignity."

 

Egypt cleric 'to ban full veils' Egypt's highest Muslim authority has said he will issue a religious edict against the growing trend for full women's veils, known as the niqab. Sheikh Mohamed Tantawi, dean of al-Azhar university, called full-face veiling a custom that has nothing to do with the Islamic faith.

 

French minister urges burka ban A ban on the wearing of the burka in France would help stem the spread of the "cancer" of radical Islam, one of its female Muslim ministers has said. Urban Regeneration Minister Fadela Amara told the Financial Times that a veil covering everything but the eyes represented "the oppression of women".

 

"The burka represents not a piece of fabric but the political manipulation of a religion that enslaves women and disputes the principal of equality between men and women"

 

Canada bans veils at citizenship oath ceremony Dec 11

Italian committee approves face veil ban bill Jul 11

Islamic headscarf: French curbs come into force Apr 11

Barcelona to ban Islamic veils in some public spaces Jun 10

Belgian lawmakers pass burka ban May 10

The Islamic veil across Europe Sep 11

Evolution of the Burqa - Don't give me that Look!

Why I took off my headscarf... only to put it back on again Sep 14

For latest updates to the present see the Sakina-Kaaba News List Archive


 

A fatwa is a religious opinion on the law by an Islamic scholar. The clarity and authority of this argument stems from our broad scholarly experience of Islamic, Christian, Jewish and pre-Islamic cultural and religious traditions, without being bound to the restrictions, or beliefs, imposed by one sect, or tradition, such as Shia or Sunni.  The argument is also clear, in terms of natural biology and female reproductive choice, as a foundation for the emergence and evolution of human intelligence and the passage of the generations to come. In Qur’anic terms, this fatwa is a ‘clear argument’, in terms of Sura 43:61-63 concerning Isa (Esau) [3] , to “make clear to you part of what you differ in”.

 

 Although women wearing niqab can cut a fearsomely unwelcoming image as a political statement, the niqab cannot entirely conceal the beauty of a woman, no matter whether two eyes or one show

 

Despite the assertions of some conservative Islamic scholars that niqaab is waajib (fard) or mustahaab (obligatory or highly recommended) there is no basis in the Qur’an for this claim. While conservative scholars try to finesse the Qur’an and Hadith together (see later) into a tortuous justification for imposing these assaults of women’s sovereignty, all independent authorities confirm there is no basis for these restrictive claims. Moreover the idea that God, or al-Llah, prefers women veiled, or that a woman’s entire body, or that everything except face and hands, is awrah (pudenda) to be ashamed of, or that women need to be veiled to protect themselves from the ravages of men, and society from immorality, is a false teaching, used by men to control female reproductive choice, and to limit women’s access to educational, social and political independence.

 

The dehumanization of personal identity. God did not ordain that women, who are the bearers of the generations of humanity, should be reduced to depersonalized ghosts.

2.     Does the Qur’an Require Women to be Veiled?

 

The internet encyclopedia About.Com poses the following question: [4] Does the Quran Require Women to Wear the Veil? 

 

One of the most visibly contentious issues in Islam as well as in the Western world is women's wearing of the veil. To western feminists, the veil is a symbol of oppression. To many Muslims, it can equally be a symbol and an act of empowerment, both for its explicit rejection of Western values and its implicit meaning as a status symbol: many Muslims see the veil as a sign of distinction, the more so because it evokes a connection to the Prophet Muhammad and his wives. But does the Quran, in fact, require women to cover themselves--with a veil, a chador or any other form of head covering?

 

Answer: The quick answer is no: the Quran has no requirement that women cover their faces with a veil, or cover their bodies with the full-body burqa or chador, as in Iran and Afghanistan. But the Quran does address the matter of veiling in such a way that it has been interpreted historically, if not necessarily correctly, by Muslim clerics as applying to women.

 

The veiling of women was not an Islamic innovation but a Persian and Byzantine-Christian custom that Islam adopted. For most of Islam’s history, the veil in its various forms was seen as a sign of distinction and protection for upper-class women. Since the 19th century, the veil has come to represent a more assertive, self-consciously Islamic expression, sometimes in reaction to Western currents - colonialism, modernism, feminism.

 

Initially in Muhammad's life, the veil was not an issue. His wives didn't wear it, nor did he require that other women wear it. As he became more important in his community, and as his wives gained stature, Muhammad began adapting Persian and Byzantine customs. The veil was among those.

 

Veiling goes back to the Assyrians, for whom veiling was not mandatory but a privilege of wealthy married women. The prescribed requirement was the reverse - that prostitutes and slave women should NOT be veiled [5]. This polarity, in which the unveiled are regarded as licentious loose women, has continued in Muslim traditions, leading to harassment and violence against unveiled women, in both traditional Muslim and Western cultures.

 

There are two passages in the Qur’an referring to the veil, 33:53, 55 and 24:30, 31 whose origin we shall examine in detail next. Neither says specifically that women in general should wear the veil, or that they should be covered from head to toe, or prevented from seeing or being seen.

 

Varieties of veiling in Afghanistan, illustrate regional and tribal differences, dominated by the burqa. 
Even when feverish with malaria in hospital the woman mid-left centre had to be covered in a veil.

3.     A History of the Prophet’s Statements on the Veil

 

Wiebke Walther [6] notes [7]: ‘Closely connected with the veil is the exclusion of women from public life, based on a verse in the Koran which refers only to the wives of the Prophet’:

 

“When ye ask them (i.e. the wives of the Prophet) for any article, ask them from behind a curtain; that is purer for your hearts and for theirs” (33: 53, 55).

 

‘An Arab historical work dating from the ninth century claims this revelation originated at the marriage of Muhammed to the beautiful Zaynab Bint Jahsh the former wife of his adopted son Zayd Ibn Haritha. Muhammed had once seen Zaynab in her undergarments as he was about to enter Zayd's house and had coveted her from then on. Zayd wanted to divorce her immediately so that Muhammed could marry her, but Muhammed did not want to accept Zayd's offer. But Zaynab had been married with Zayd against her will and now displayed a clear lack of affection for him. In the end, her marriage with Muhammed took place. Toward the end of the wedding feast, the guests showed no signs of departing. This shows that Zaynab's attractiveness for her guests was considered to have been very great. Muhammad impatiently left the room several times and went out into the courtyard, hoping that he would finally be left alone with his new bride. But this was not the case. It was now that the verse quoted above was revealed to him’

 

Mohammed fell in love with this woman and asked Zeid to divorce her and he married her in the year 628. She was 38 years old. Koran 33-37 gives the prophet the right to marry his adopted son’s wife as an example to those that should follow:

 

“When Zaid had accomplished his want of her, we gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished their want of them; and Allah’s command shall be performed.” (33.37)

 

Medieval Female Muslim Imam traveling without a face veil and unaccompanied by a male family member.

 

Two Muslim opinions that universal veiling and curtaining of women is not prescribed [8]. [9]   "the so-called legal scholars assume positions that it is categorically forbidden for a woman to travel by herself for any purpose, so you mean to tell me that all these masters, who were women Imams, who traveled the Muslim world, they were teachers in public - some of them were on the minbar (mosque pulpit) themselves" ... "And her face was uncovered?" ... "Was she old? Some say when a woman is very, very old" "No she was very young" "The women of Medinan society were more revolutionary than their granddaughters in the modern Muslim world. ”Dr. Tariq Suwaidan “In many places in the Muslim world, tradition has taken over ...  If we take a deep look at what was practiced in the life of the Prophet ... then we will see very clearly that there were no walls or curtains separating men from women except in one case and that is the wives of Muhammad ... unfortunately many of the scholars and later on many of the masses have taken what is for the wives of the Prophet (our mothers) and applied it to all Muslim women and thus should not talk to them except from behind a separation like a curtain.”

 

“O Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (33.59).’

 

This does not say specifically that a hijab الحجاب , or more extreme covering of everything, but the eyes, or one eye, such as niqab النقاب , or burqa البرقع , is obligatory. Nor can one fairly claim this is a command of God, or al-Llah, because it has an origin in simple propriety when going to the toilet. Moreover there are clearly major differences of interpretation and cultural expectations of dress style among Muslims in the world today, so it cannot be mandatory in Islam, nor the will of God.

 

Islamic opinion and the translations of this passage are varied and used in misleading ways to imply face cover. In a web site advocating the niqab the verse is first translated as follows:

 

‘O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks ("Jalabib") veils all over their bodies (screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way Tafseer Al-Qurtabi) that is most convenient that they should be known (as such) and not molested: and Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful."

 

The Arabic text of this ayah is, "Ya ayyuha an-Nabi, qul li azwajika wa banatika wa nisa al-muminin yudnina alayhinna min jalabib hinna; dhalika adna an yu'rafna fa laa yu'dhayn. Wa kana Allahu Ghafur ar-Rahim", which literally translates as, "O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (jalabib) close around themselves; that is better that they are recognized and not annoyed. And God is Most Forgiving, Merciful". There are actually a number of opinions given in the tafsir about what "draw their jalabib close around themselves" means. Among these are, "she should bring the jilbab close to her face without covering it" (reported by ibn Abbas in the tafsir of Tabari, and graded as sahih by Shaykh Albani), and, "Others believe that the women have been directed to secure their jalabib firmly on their foreheads" (commentary of Tabari in his tafsir of this ayah). Thus we can see that it is a valid opinion that the jilbab does not have to cover the face.

 

An early Arabian historian explains that Muhammad's wives had been bothered by his opponents in Medina when they left the house at night to 'relieve themselves', because they took unveiled women for slaves (Walther). This ties in with Assyrian traditions in which it was mandatory for slaves and 'available' women to be unveiled and veiling was a 'privilege' of the wealthy married women. It is known that noble ladies of the trading city of Mecca wore veils even before Islam. There is no specific mention of veiling the face.

 

In a hadith in Sahih Bukhari (1.4.149) Muhammad allowed his wives to go out in the desert, in a secluded spot under the sky, to answer the calls of nature hidden under the trees and shrubs, though he restricted them to the night hours only. In Sahih Bukhari (6.60.203) we also read that performing sexual intercourse in the open sky was quite common. Nevertheless, Umar, the second Caliph, urged Muhammad to change this. Umar used to watch these ladies and requested Muhammad to cover his wives with veils whenever they went out to do their business in the open field at night. At first, Muhammad ignored Umar’s plea. But when Umar kept pestering, Muhammad turned to Allah for His suggestion, resulting in sura 33:59.

 

Malaysian girls give the sign of peace. The problem with the milder forms of the hijab which do not cover the face is that they are the thin end of the wedge, perceived by conservative ‘scholars’ as the lesser of a greater religious commitment in the niqab, causing increasing numbers of women to adopt the more restrictive dress as fundamentalist agendas gain influence.

 

Thus there is no valid claim that can be made by Islamic scholars that the veil is somehow ordained or preferred by al-Llah, or that women are pudenda over their entire body, and so must be secluded and their shame covered, even to the extent that they can see only through one eye. It is simply a tradition that Muhammad instituted for his wives, both out of impatience at undue interest in a new wife he desired to consummate his marriage with, and a concern at the vulnerability of his own many wives in public.  These are the very last reasons a woman should give credence to, to justify the imposition upon their autonomy, of a requirement to cover themselves from head to toe.

 

The most eminent tafsir (exegesis) writer, bin Kathir comments on this verse [10]: Here Allah tells His Messenger to command the believing women - especially his wives and daughters, because of their position of honour - to draw their Jibes over their bodies, so that they will be distinct in their appearance from the women of the Jahiliyyah and from slave women. The Jilbab is a Rida', worn over the Khimar. This was the view of Ibn Mas'ud, 'Ubaydah, Qatadah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Sa'id bin Jubayr, Ibrahim An-Nakha'i, 'Ata' Al-Khurasani and others. It is like the Izar used today. Al-Jawhari said: "The Jilbab is the outer wrapper. 'Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn 'Abbas said that Allah commanded the believing women, when they went out of their houses for some need, to cover their faces from above their heads with the Jilbab, leaving only one eye showing. Muhammad bin Sirin said, "I asked 'Ubaydah As-Salmani about the Ayah: (to draw their Jalabib over their bodies.) He covered his face and head, with just his left eye showing.'' (That will be better that they should be known so as not to be annoyed. ) means, if they do that, it will be known that they are free, and that they are not servants or whores.

 

However the flip-side of this ruling is dire and violent - NOT wearing the hijab equates a woman under the Qur’an and Islamic law to slaves, or whores. They are thus meat for abuse, or even rape.

 

When violent rape of non-Muslim Australian girls by young Muslim men took place in 2007, Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, the nation's most senior Muslim cleric, compared immodestly-dressed women who do not wear the Islamic headdress with meat that is left uncovered in the street and is then eaten by cats [11]:

 

Addressing 500 worshippers on the topic of adultery, Sheik al-Hilali added: "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it … whose fault is it - the cats or the uncovered meat? "The uncovered meat is the problem." "If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab (veil), no problem would have occurred."

 

In 2009 Austrailian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told the cleric Samir Abu Hamza to apologize in public, and repudiate his remarks, when the sheik said men have a right to force their wives to have sex, questioning how rape can exist within marriage, and encouraging "light beating" of disobedient women. He was replaced as Mufti of Australia in 2007 over the previous statements. (Cleric 'must deny' views on rape BBC 22 January 2009).

But he was simply quoting what the Qur’an says - that God prefers men over women and that women are to be beaten, if their husbands merely fear their perverseness:

 

"Men stand superior to women in that God hath preferred the one over the other ... Those whose perverseness you fear, admonish them and remove them into bed chambers and beat them, but if they submit to you then do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great" ( 4:34)

 

Outlining the sexual discrimination in even the Qur’anic provisions, these restrictions on women's modesty are far more detailed and severe than for men. Nevertheless basically these are just provisions for physical modesty generally and do NOT say a woman has to wear a hijab, niqab or burqa or that her face or eyes should be covered.

 

Men: “Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do” (24.30).

 

Women: “And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess [slaves], or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! so that you may be successful” (24.31).

 

Essentially women are regarded as sexually so provocative and sensual that unless they are completely regulated they will either entice men into fornication or they will become helpless victims of male ardour. This is confirmed by the way a woman who is no longer sexually enticing is exempt:

 

“And (as for) women advanced in years who do not hope for a marriage, it is no sin for them if they put off their clothes without displaying their ornaments; and if they restrain themselves it is better for them; Allah is Hearing, Knowing” (24.60).

 

Thus the source of veiling and chaperoning is the idea that men cannot control their sexual desires and that this is a woman’s fault for being ‘shameful enticing pudenda over her entire body’, so that even if it is covered entirely by an abaya with only their two eyes showing, the beauty of their eyes alone might seduce a man who is not their husband, brother, father, or uncle, essentially and centrally a defence of tribal honour, so that a woman should have to see only through one eye wherever she goes, outside the seclusion of the zenana, or women’s quarter in the home.

4.     Nine Reasons why Muslim Women Might Adopt the Veil

 

A notable Muslim website [12] claiming the niqab is desirable but not compulsory, lists the following six reasons why one must wear hijab and why being shrouded in a niqab is even better:

 

Hijab is haya (shyness, privacy) Niqab is a better screen of privacy

Hijab develops taqwa (higher god consciousness) Niqab helps develop more taqwa

Hijab is a jihad that purifies the soul Niqab is a greater jihad

Hijab is a protection for sisters Niqab is a better protection

Hijab is an assertion of Islamic identity Niqab is a stronger assertion

Hijab is fard (obligatory) Niqab is mustahabb (highly recommended)

 

We will examine each of these reasons and their arguments in detail and why they are misleading and also other reasons and why obligatory veiling can lead to unsatisfactory outcomes.

 

A: To support one’s Religion and Culture is the Easiest Course.

 

It is easy to understand why women in Muslim societies continue to use the veil when it is a universal aspect of the culture in which they exist, but it is important to separate cultural tradition from religious imposition.

 

While fewer Muslim women wear headscarves in countries like Azerbaijan and Tunisia, and Turkey debates whether the hijab should be allowed in universities, Saudi Arabia and Iran make it obligatory for women to cover their hair, and sometimes their faces. Ikbal Gharbi, a professor of Anthropology in the Institute of Sharia and Religious Principles at Zeitouna University in Tunis, comments: [13]

 

"It's not a simple garment,"  "The horrendous thing is that without the veil, women should be ashamed; that she should run the risk of exciting the men … It is pathology.”

 

The cultural justification for hijab and niqab is based on modesty and feminine privacy common to most cultures, but it is taken to an extreme in regard to its imposition on women in conservative Muslim societies, based on fabricated religious grounds:

 

“The word "haya" is often translated into English as "shyness", but this does not really give a very good idea of its meaning in Arabic. A better, if longer, translation of its meaning might be "keeping private what should be private". Islam places a very great importance on privacy, and on keeping private what should be private. Hijab is in fact part of a larger code of conduct, and constitutes only one aspect of haya. Allah SWT has through the Shari’a clearly distinguished between public and private space and placed a screen (i.e., hijab) between them. Private space is physically divided from public space and strongly protected against any incursion (Surah an-Nur ayat 27-29). The same rule applies to the physical person, as what is not necessary to be displayed for some task should be covered (or, as the Quran says in Surah an-Nur ayah 31, women are "not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it"). From this, we can see that hijab is a screen of privacy, an act of haya. Clearly, it is mustahabb to screen our privacy even more than has been commanded and we can protect our own privacy more carefully through taking extra steps in modest dress, in avoiding physical contact and khulwa with non-mahrams, and in keeping conversation with non-mahrams to the minimum. For sisters, as stated above, that extra degree in modest dress must and can only be niqab and gloves.”

 

This argument is seditious and illustrates why hijab alone becomes the slippery slope to niqab and burqa, and an oppressive occlusion of the female in her entirety, which interferes with many aspects of expression in employment, and in the establishing of ethical trusting relationships in the wider society.  This is harmful and has a high cost to both women and men.

 

Seen in the context of Arabic society, rather than the wider Islamic community, one can appreciate that this screening goes a lot further than the hijab and forms a cultural ‘iron curtain’ separating women and men, as well as the private and public spheres of life.

 

David Gutmann, emeritus professor of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago expresses the problem of this isolation this way [14] :

 

“The Niqab brings to mind the conformation of the bedouin tent, designed for mobility, concealment and protection. Thus, even as the traditional Arab woman walks abroad, she remains shrouded, confined within her "house". Even within the traditional Arab home, the women of the house do not encounter men from the outer world. These are met and given hospitality by the men of the house in a kind of transitional zone - the Diwan, the room for receiving guests - and the women are only muted voices sifting through from the distant "feminine" spaces of the dwelling. Wearing the Niqab as she ventures forth the Arab woman remains an extension of her closed domestic space, which she carries with her. The Niqab then functions as a kind of immune system, one which maintains the inner world, the domain behind the fabrics, in a stable, predictable state. Even as the Arab woman ventures out into a world characterized by flux and change, she carries within her Niqab -- a token of the stable domestic world.”

 

The over-arching assumption in conservative societies is that enforced extreme modesty is the only protection against women being exploited by men. Running through all the arguments is a tacit assumption that the unveiled are whores and that any society that allows their women to be unveiled, must be exploiting them sexually.  Saudi Arabian arguments why a woman should not be allowed to drive a car begin from the position that this will result in some uncovering of her currently completely concealed state and will lead inevitably to her mixing with unrelated men and women and to the loss of her ‘honour and dignity’, amid pornographic fantasies of Western men having ten or twenty lovers, over and above the four wives allowed, and unquenchable sexual appetites, asserting Western women are more exploited and oppressed than anywhere, because they have to flaunt their sexuality and will be raped or have to consent to illicit sex to survive – something which is a manifestly untrue deception. Dr. Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Fawzan made these points clear on Al-Majid TV June 17 2005 [15]:

 

In conservative countries like this blessed kingdom of Saudi Arabia -  which Allah be praised is the most conservative in the Muslim world - in which a woman maintains her honour, decency and modesty - and she does not reveal anything - not her hands, not her face, not anything - how can she drive a car? Those who call to allow women to drive according to what has been written - can be divided into two groups. The first group includes Westernized people, who want to Westernize society, to tell the truth. They want to destroy society, corrupt it, and drag it down into the depths of decay and permissiveness, like in Western societies. These people have been blinded by what they saw there when they studied or visited there, and they want our society to be like other societies. They want to be devoid of all values, morals and modesty. They want women to go out in the streets all made up like a harlot, with her face uncovered like they see in the West. They think that the shortest and best way to reach this goal is to allow a woman to drive, because if a woman drives she will reveal her face, drive without a male chaperone, will have an easy opportunity to meet all kinds of young men and women, and she will get all made up, will mix with men and so on. I don't think that any woman, throughout human history, has been as oppressed as the Western woman today - and they still claim they have given her freedom. They took her out of the home to exploit her, to exploit her honour and dignity. Furthermore in many countries, her salary is lower than the man's, but she works more than him. She does not get what she wants unless she sacrifices her honour, to her bosses or co-workers. How strange! Even though they have permissiveness there, and any man can satisfy his desires outside marriage, he is not satisfied with ten or twenty. Any girls he sees, who has certain features, he wants. If she consents - fine. If not - he rapes her.

 

One of the most eloquent counterarguments to the notion that Muslim societies are less licentious than Western cultures [16] comes from Ghada Jamshir [17], the world renowned Bahrani women's rights activist and an ardent campaigner for the reform of Sharia courts, currently under effective house arrest for her views, in which she decries both Shiite mut’a or temporary marriage and the Sunni misyar marriage [18], in which the wife gives up several of her rights by her own free will, such as living with the husband, equal division of nights between wives in cases of polygamy, rights to housing, and maintenance money, which can be used in a similar manner to mut’ah by the ‘husband’ later repudiating the wife in divorce.

 

We have a problem with family planning. We have no family planning in Bahrain. The Shiites in Bahrain have marriages for the purpose of mut'ah (pleasure). They bring multitudes of children into the world without thinking, who grow up in the streets. It is accepted for a man to marry a Filipino woman, a Bahrani woman, and a third woman from Iran, and then he takes 2 or 3 women in mut'ah marriage. How many children will he have?! Does the Islamic sharia authorize mut'ah marriages according to the following classification: "Pleasure from sexual contact with her thighs." They have: "Pleasure from sexual touching" "Pleasure from sexual contact with her breasts." "Pleasure from a little girl". Do you know what pleasure from a little girl means? It means they derive sexual pleasure from a girl of 2, 3 or 4. This constitutes sexual assault of the girl. What does "Pleasure from sexual contact with her thighs mean?" "It means deriving sexual pleasure from an infant." "How old is an infant? One year, a year and a half, a few months?" Is it conceivable for a grown man to have sex with an infant girl? And you people tell me the Islamic Shari'a authorizes this?

 

Forget about the mut'ah. Lets talk about the misyar marriages.  What do misyar marriages mean? A man marries a woman from another town and goes to visit her once a month. He "visits" her. He calls her his "wife". This kind of marriage, this kind of behavior diminishes the woman's honour as a human being.

 

Given these factors, which are cultural and based on the patriarchal reproductive imperative and paternity anxiety, rather than the will of God, one can see that even in countries where the veil is not required by law, social conventions will continue to make the veil desirable or obligatory for many women. The shadow of this mentality leads to a false attitude on the part of woman defenders of hijab and niqab that the veil somehow makes them more able to be recognized as a human being, with a personality and commanding genuine respect, rather than a sexual object, without realizing this is really only valid in societies where the veil is a token of such realities and that the reverse can be true in the West, as well as promoting social division and reducing genuine means of establishing mutual trust in society.

 

B: To submit to authority, because one may otherwise be beaten or imprisoned.

 

 

Summary Beatings over ‘Islamic Dress Codes’: Left Iran, Right Afghanistan

 

In both Shiite countries, such as Iran, and Sunni countries, from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan, women face penalties, from imprisonment to beatings, for not conforming to dress codes. Women who do not conform to the demands to adopt the veil can also be subject to death threats, particularly in regions where radical Islam is a central part of the political agenda.

 

Niqabs, Hamas Rally

 

“Hamas considers the unveiled as collaborators of a kind.

It is our religious duty to execute collaborators.” Hamas Graffitti, Gaza [19] 

 

In two news reports [20], [21] women TV reporters are threatened with beheading if they don’t wear the veil and a senior Iranian cleric says the unveiled should be severely punished, in the same way as thieves or murderers, because they will turn men into beasts:

 

Wear a veil or we'll behead you Gaza 5 June 2007: Women working in Palestinian television in Gaza have been told to avoid walking alone in the street after radical Islamists threatened to behead them ff they did not dress in religious garb while on air. The threat from the extremist fringe group, The Righteous Swords of Islam, is being taken seriously by female journalists. Anti-vice vigilantes have bombed Internet cafes, music shops, pool halls, a restaurant and a Christian bookstore in recent weeks. The group warned that it would strike the women with "an iron fist and swords" for refusing to wear a veil on camera. "It is disgraceful that the women working for the official Palestinian media are competing with each other to display their charms," it said in a leaflet distributed in Gaza. "We will destroy their homes. We will blow up their work places. If necessary, we will behead and slaughter to preserve the spirit and morals of our people."

 

Mashad, 10 April 2008 (AKI)  - A top Shia cleric in Iran has said that unveiled women are a serious danger to Iranian society as they cause men to be "transformed into beasts". "Women without the veil are a danger that the authorities underestimate," said Hojatolislam Seyyed Ahmad Elmalhoda, a powerful cleric who leads the Friday prayers in Mashad, a site considered sacred for Shia Muslims as it houses the shrine of Imam Reza. "This situation is very serious in that if men see these bad women, they will turn into beasts, and then the whole of society will have to pay the consequences." According to the Shia cleric, women who do not respect conservative Islamic dress rules are "sources of all that is bad in society." "Respecting the chador (a long, black cloak that covers the arms and legs and is usually worn with a hijab) is the law of the state and the authorities must severely punish anyone who does not respect this law, in the same way that they punish thieves and murderers," said Elmadhoda.

 

The situation of oppression and violence against women in Basra for not wearing the veil is described as nauseating [22], [23]:

 

Violations of 'Islamic teachings' take deadly toll on Iraqi women Arwa Damon CNN Baghdad - The images in the Basra police file are nauseating: Page after page of women killed in brutal fashion -- some strangled to death, their faces disfigured; others beheaded. All bear signs of torture. The women are killed, police say, because they failed to wear a headscarf or because they ignored other "rules" that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce. Basra, is a stronghold of conservative Shia groups. As many as 133 women were killed in Basra last year -- 79 for violation of "Islamic teachings" and 47 for so-called honor killings, according to IRIN, the news branch of the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "I think so far, we have been unable to tackle this problem properly," he says. "There are many motives for these crimes and parties involved in killing women, by strangling, beheading, chopping off their hands, legs, heads." "When I came to Basra a year ago," he says, "two women were killed in front of their kids. Their blood was flowing in front of their kids, they were crying. Another woman was killed in front of her 6-year-old son, another in front of her 11-year-old child, and yet another who was pregnant."

 

A female lawyer in Basra contacted by the BBC by phone from London, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said attacks on women in the city were occurring "every two or three days". She told the BBC about a university student who had been shot in the legs for not wearing an Islamic headscarf, or hijab. The lawyer also said that graffiti was painted on walls warning women to cover their heads or "be punished". She said she had been told by a group of men that she should be at home and get married instead of working. "They said to me: 'If anyone's willing to offer a good price for you, we wouldn't think twice about selling you'," she said.

 

Under these circumstances, it is very difficult to justify the liberal notion that wearing the hijab, niqab, or burqa, is a free choice of women in the Islamic world.

 

C: Because one is told it is one’s duty to God under His ordinance, and will gain the favour of al-Llah.

 

The belief that the veil is something the creator wants, or approves of and that He is watching and knows better for women than they know themselves permeates the thinking and beliefs of women wearing both the hijab and niqab in traditional and Western societies alike.  It underlies the defensiveness of Muslim women to any suggestion that they should moderate the use of the veil for social cohesion and is the foundation of claims that they are wearing the veil by choice and by right. In an interview with three young Muslim women, one wearing the hijab, another the niqab, and the third no veil or headscarf, the assumed preferences of al-Llah and the evangelical duty of Islam are at the very core [24].

 

 

Sumayyah Hussein: I have worn the hijab since a child.  I believe it because it's something my creator wants from me and I also believe its of benefit to myself. … Muslim women cover themselves because they believe God wants that of them and they believe that god knows better for them than they know.

 

Sheika el-Kathiri: I have been wearing the niqab for one year and I do it to please my creator and is part of completing my faith. By covering my face, I am honouring myself and I am presenting myself to the world as the sum of my character, as the sum of my personality, my contribution towards society and it just a little bit that I'm doing to enable me to go through this path of spiritual discovery and its something that I really feel glad and happy and wonderful for having done it and its just a spiritual choice.

 

Sonya Kahn: If I were wearing the hijab and covering my face I think you create more barriers. It’s not you, it’s the people around you. There are stereotypes - perceived notions. As a Muslim, you're a missionary at heart, you are supposed to actually attract people to you, not repel them. The Qur’an doesn’t say to cover any particular part, except for the bosom, so I think it’s about the humility of it and there’s no implication of what item you need to wear. We need to integrate, we need to assimilate and we need to be able to move from one culture to the other without looking like something out of a different era.

 

The conservative Muslim argument goes as follows:

 

“Clearly, hijab is a command from Allah SWT and sisters draw near to Him through wearing hijab. And clearly, doing more than has been commanded is a way to draw still nearer to Allah SWT. When a sister is already covering everything but her face and her hands, and she would like to do something extra to seek the love of Allah SWT, the only things left for her to cover are - her face and her hands! Even if there were no other reason to wear niqab, surely this would be enough! How can it be "extreme" to wear niqab or gloves when her face and her hands are the only things the Muslim sister has uncovered in public to begin with?” 

 

Eid - Iran

 

This argument is incorrect and misleading.  The Qur’an does not say God ordained that women should be covered with a hijab, let alone niqab, chador, or burqa. The passages rather indicate that veiling was something Muhammad decided to adopt for his wives, following Persian and Byzantine customs. Moreover the argument here is abysmal. By claiming the female is already obliged to cover all but her face and hands it then asserts that the only thing she has left to give God for His love is to cover herself completely in utter submission.

 

The imposition of the veil, especially in its more restrictive forms is clearly unfairly and unjustifiably demeaning to the female.  It appears that Muslim authorities would happily declare that the women should be completely obscured and see through no eyes at all and be happy to do this for the love of God!

 

Hijab and niqab are also claimed to bring more taqwa (God consciousness) to the female:

 

“Sometimes the outward things help us develop the inner, by making us more aware of Allah SWT. This awareness that Allah SWT is watching us is called in Arabic "taqwa". Hijab can increase taqwa. When a sister sees her own reflection and her hijab, or when she becomes aware of it as she wears it, she may be reminded that she dresses like this because Allah SWT has ordered it, and because she knows that He is aware of what she does. These thoughts may inspire her to behave in the best possible manner.”

 

Once again this is a deceptive misconception that God has ordered women to wear the veil. The idea that God is watching us and so there is no place we can turn or hide is a principal instrument of patriarchal religions to enforce religious codes [25]. It is also utterly fallacious that by covering ourselves in submission we become more conscious of the true nature of God. 

 

D: Because the Hijab is the law under Sharia and is thus Sunna

 

Regardless of the Qur’an, it is claimed that hijab is the law under Sharia – abrogated as noted below:

 

How has niqab been indicated by the Shari'a?

 

Sharia 1) For Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa), the wives of the Prophet (sAas), niqab is fard (obligatory). It has been commanded in Surah al-Ahzab ayah 53 and the hadiths confirm that Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) covered their faces in obedience to the command in this ayah to screen themselves from non-mahram men.  Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) are also a model to all Muslim women and this is another reason in itself that niqab is mustahabb.

 

The author includes the following justification, which again is specious:

 

If you claim that niqab "presents a bad image of Islam" or "is oppressive" - think! Would you say that if you saw Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) wearing their niqabs? There is no dispute that Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) wore niqab, and this fact alone makes it clear that niqab is part of Islam.

 

It is not established what form of curtain is implied by 53 or whether it is intended to be a curtain covering the face, or in a room in the house, which is also an implicit part of the screening from non-related males in Arab custom. The claim that the wives of the prophet are a model for all Muslim women raises all manner of issues.  This in no way implies the veil should be universal for all women. If the wives are to be a model this requires examining each of the prophets nine wives lives and their motives, autonomy and actions individually. Aisha’s relationship with the patriarchy was anything but straightforward, as was her early age of betrothal at nine.

 

Child marriage: Roshan Qasem, 11, will joining the household of Said Mohammed, 55, his first wife; their three sons, and their daughter, who is the same age as Roshan.

 

This raises fundamental issues about the treatment of women and pedophilia implicit in Muslim tradition.  In Afghanistan, marriage to child brides of 11 is by no means uncommon [26], girls from 8 are married and divorced in Yemen [27], and Khomeini permitted girls as young as 9 to marry [28], so the problem is endemic to both Sunni and Shia traditions:

 

"Khomeini lowered the marriage age for females from eighteen to thirteen, but permitted girls as young as nine, even seven in some cases, to be married if a physician signs a certificate agreeing to their sexual maturity. 'In his book Tahrir Al' Vassilih, Khomeini writes about the legal requirement for having sex with children,' explained a woman lawyer who is concerned that child brides are dying since this ruling was instituted. 'In villages where child marriage is most common, doctors often don't even see the girl,' she told me. 'They just take the family's word that she is physically mature enough to marry. Consequently, we have had very young girls badly injured and when they have had what amounts to forced intercourse. Infection sets in and they have died.' 'Only with girls under seven did the Ayatollah say that sex was forbidden."

 

Khomeini has gone so far as saying sex with infants is acceptable [29]. The complete Persian text of this saying can be found in "Ayatollah Khomeini in Tahrirolvasyleh, Fourth Edition, Darol Elm, Qom":

 

"A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby. However, he should not penetrate. If he penetrates and the child is harmed then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl, however would not count as one of his four permanent wives. The man will not be eligible to marry the girl's sister."

 

Likewise the Saudi Grand Mufti has recently said it is okay for girls as young as 10 to be married confirming it is an aberration of both Shiite and Sunni followings and sources back to the prophet's own marriage to Aisha.

 

Both Ayatollah Khomeini and the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia have claimed marriage to prebubescent girls is acceptable.

 

Girl, 8, granted divorce in Yemen SAN'A, Yemen April 17, 2008 (AP) -- A Yemeni judge dissolved the marriage of an 8-year-old girl to a man nearly four times her age, and the girl's lawyer said Wednesday that the court also ordered the youngster removed from the control of the father who forced her into the wedding. The lawyer, Shatha Ali Nasser, said the girl is just one of thousands of underaged girls who have been forced into marriages in this poor tribal country at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The girl's story has drawn headlines in Yemen because she took the unusual step of seeking out a judge on her own to file for divorce. She recounted her ordeal to reporters Wednesday, a day after the judge in San'a ended the two-month marriage. Judge Mohammed al-Qady said he had been moved by the girl's plight from the start. The girl said her father forced her to marry a 30-year-old man she identified as Faiz Ali Thamer. She charged that her husband constantly beat her and forced her to have sex. "I used to run from room to room to escape from him. But he would catch up with me," the girl said, her tiny frame swallowed in an oversized robe and head scarf, standing with her lawyer. In issuing his ruling Tuesday, the judge said he was terminating the marriage because the girl "had not reached puberty."

 

Muhammad took nine wives and a concubine after Khadja, more than the four plus slave concubines he permitted in the Qur'an, as eloquently described in "The Prophet's Women" in "Nine Parts of Desire" [30] summarized here by Occhiogrosso [31]:

 

"At age 50, Muhammad married again, this time exercising the Arab option of taking several wives, which he had not done while married to Khadja. In Mecca he wed the widow Sawda and was engaged to Aisha, the 6-year-old daughter of Abu Bake. He later married her in Medina at age 9, although the marriage was not consummated until she reached the age of womanhood in Arabic culture. Next he married Hafsa, the daughter of Umar, a notable Companion, as the circle of Muslims closest to Muhammad came to be called. Muhammad's marriage to Zaynab, the wife of his adopted son Zayd required some thought and several revelations. Zayd assured the Prophet that his marriage to Zaynab was not a happy one, and though Islamic law permitted yet disapproved of divorce as well as marriage to one's son's relations, Zayd and Zaynab were divorced and Muhammad married her. As the Prophet's revelations granted permission for his marriages, the outspoken Aisha remarked (according to oral tradition), "It seems that God is hastening to satisfy your desires"-demonstrating Aisha's remarkable freedom as a woman. Muhammad then married Umm Salama and two Jewish women, Raihana and Safiya, followed by Umm Habiba, a daughter of Abu Sufyan, a famously idolatrous opponent of Islam, and Maimuna, sister-in-law of his uncle and the aunt of Khalid, the great Quraysh military leader. Besides these 9 official wives, Muhammad took as concubine-over the objections of Aisha and his other wives-Mariya, a Coptic Christian slave girl who was a gift from the ruler of Egypt."

 

Other forthright women offered themselves freely to Muhammad in marriage and some demurred having sexual relations with him, indicating women were assertive in his time:

 

"this woman had offered herself in marriage to the Prophet himself, and it is said that she was not the only one to do so. This is proof of the magnetism Muhammed must have had for those around him. It is also evidence of a self-confidence on the part of women in Ancient Arabia totally lacking ... among Muslim women of later centuries. There are reports of other women who were married to Muhammed but who, when he came to them in the bridal chamber, said: 'I take refuge from you in God.' At this, so it goes, he had them sent back to their families without delay. This, too, shows Arab women at the time of Muhammed were assertive enough to make no secret of their desires or disinclination" [32]

 

The Prophet’s 9 wives after Khadija may actually number 10, along with the additional gift wife, Marieh from the ruler of Egypt, a slave booty wife Rayhaneh he claimed after killing her husband, and 16 women he is said to have divorced as well as 7 others he ‘may’ have been married to [33]. If the veil is going to be a standard set by the wives of the Prophet as role models for women, where does this leave Zeinab, whom Muhammad fell in love with and took from his own son-in law, and the fact that Aisha was engaged to him at 6 and married at 9?  Does this mean the veiling of women is a mark upon them, to conform to such standards by the law of Shariah?

 

What kind of example is Zaynab setting for women? That they should have to be veiled for 15 centuries, because the Prophet coveted Zaynab in her underwear? How could this marriage have ever taken place, had she been forced to wear the niqab and never been attractive to another man than her husband?  Therefore how can the ruling be valid?

 

Sharia 2) It appears that during a time in Madinah when the Muslims were being persecuted (as mentioned in Surah al-Ahzab ayat 57-61), it was fard for all Muslim women to draw their jilbabs over their faces. Subsequently, this understanding of Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 was superceded by Surah an-Nur ayah 31, which allows the display of the face and hands.

 

Persecution is a valid reason for concealment, but it is not a religious monopoly of Muslims and it is no justification for a perpetual legal requirement.  The fact that it is admitted that 24:31 allows for the face and hands to be displayed unravels the entire claim that niqab is mustahabb or fard.

 

Sharia 3) Even after Surah an-Nur ayah 31 had been revealed, ordinary Muslim women continued to wear niqab with the approval of the Prophet (sAas). This has specifically been mentioned for Umm Khallad (Sunan Abu Dawud Book 14 #2482), Asma bint Abu Bakr (Muwatta Book 20 #20.5.16), and some Qurayshi women who were visiting the Prophet (sAas) (Sahih Bukhari Book 54 #515). As well, the fact that the Prophet (sAas) had to tell women not to wear niqab and gloves in ihram (Sahih Bukhari Book 29 #64) means that niqab and gloves were well-known and worn by a substantial number of sahabiyat (rAa). Clearly this form of extra modesty has the approval of the Prophet (sAas) and that is another reason that it is sunna.

 

Custom is not legal requirement, and by its own nature, should be a matter of individual choice. It is contradictory and illegitimate to acknowledge that the Prophet had to tell women not to wear the veil and then use it as an inverted inference that the niqab is desirable or compulsory. It brings sunna into disrepute.

 

The descriptions of the dress of Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa), of the way that the jilbab was worn when Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 was first revealed, and of the extra-modest dress worn by some of the sahabiyat (rAa) all clearly and unambiguously point to a face-cover. This makes niqab the specific form of extra-modest dress set by the Shari'a. As such, it is sunna as well as mustahabb.

 

Once again the argument lacks religious validity and smacks of patriarchal cultural tradition of the times. It is an argument generated by male Islamic scholars in conservative societies to justify existing restrictive customs of male control of women, which are not sanctioned in the Qur’an.

 

E: To avoid being harassed, or raped, by Muslim men, who consider unveiled women, Muslim or otherwise, fair meat for violation.

 

Muslim authorities put a positive spin on the hijab, on the basis that a woman’s modesty is favoured by al-Llah, to be unveiled in the Muslim world is to open the gates to abuse, because, as noted in the previous section, Muslim men are taught by the Qur’an and the hadith that an unveiled woman is equivalent to a slave or a whore, and is thus fair meat, following sixth century traditions, so to not be veiled is an open invitation to self-righteous abuse. Basically the requirement to wear the veil is making women take the shame and blame for the men failing to control themselves.

 

Left: Woman gang raped by Muslims in Sweden on the pretext she was unveiled and therefore a legitimate target. Right: After a group of Muslim men were jailed for many years for gang rapes, Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, Australia's most senior Muslim cleric, compared immodestly-dressed women who do not wear the Islamic headdress with meat that is left uncovered in the street and is then eaten by cats.

 

Two commentaries in Europe [34], [35] illustrate how being unveiled can result in Muslim girls being cut from mouth to ear and non-Muslim girls violently gang-raped because Muslim culture tacitly assumes any unveiled woman, whether Muslim, or not, is provocative and thus fair game for rape.

 

“The German journalist Udo Ulfkotte told in a recent interview that in Holland, you can now see examples of young, unveiled Moroccan women with a so-called “smiley”. It means that the girl gets one side of her face cut up from mouth to ear, serving as a warning to other Muslim girls who should refuse to wear the veil. In the Muslim suburb of Courneuve, France, 77 per cent of the veiled women carry veils reportedly because of fear of being harassed or molested by Islamic moral patrols.”

 

“A friend of mine is a retired chief of police, who used to be in charge of the security of a major city in the south of France. He reported to me that his men had to face an average of 10 rapes a week, 80% made by Muslim young men. 30% being what we call, in French, a “ tournante “, meaning that the victim is being raped by an entire gang, one after the other, often during an entire night. My friend reports that, in many cases, he was able to locate and arrest the rapists, often very young ones, and, as part of the investigation, call the families. He was astonished that, in most cases, the parents not only would back up their rapist children, but also would not even understand why they would be arrested. There is an instant shift in the notion of good and evil as a major component of culture. The only evil those parents would see, genuinely, is the temptation that the male children had to face. Since in most cases the victims were not Muslims, the parents’ answer and rejection was even more genuine: how could their boys be guilty of anything, when normally answering to a provocation by occidental women, known for their unacceptable behavior?”

 

Such acts are by no means confined to Western countries, but in Muslim countries, rape is often not reported, or it is the victim who is punished, sometimes accused of indecency and executed.

 

Iran to hang teenage girl attacked by rapists [36] Tehran, Iran, Jan 2007 – An Iranian court has sentenced a teenage rape victim to death by hanging after she weepingly confessed that she had unintentionally killed a man who had tried to rape both her and her niece. She described how the three men pushed her and her 16-year-old niece Somayeh onto the ground and tried to rape them, and said that she took out a knife from her pocket and stabbed one of the men in the hand. As the girls tried to escape, the men once again attacked them, and at this point, Nazanin said, she stabbed one of the men in the chest. The teenage girl, however, broke down in tears in court as she explained that she had no intention of killing the man but was merely defending herself and her younger niece from rape, the report said. The court, however, issued on Tuesday a sentence for Nazanin to be hanged to death.

 

In August 2004, Iran’s Islamic penal system sentenced a 16-year-old girl, Atefeh Rajabi, to death after she was accused of committing “acts incompatible with chastity”. The teenage victim had no access to a lawyer at any stage and efforts by her family to retain one were to no avail. Atefeh personally defended herself and told the religious judge that he should punish those who force women into adultery, not the victims. She was eventually hanged in public in the northern town of Neka.

 

Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, Rape and murder on rise in Tehran [37] A government newspaper, Iran, has reported that in the past six months alone 30 women have been murdered - all of them victims of rape. The new statistics suggest that in every six days a woman in Tehran is raped and murdered.  The youngest victim was a 15-year-old girl who was apparently gang-raped and her mutilated body was then left on the outskirts of Tehran. The faces of all the victims were burned to conceal their identity. Experts told the paper that one of the main reasons for the higher number of female runaways was discrimination against girls in Iranian households. It is also believed that many girls who take to the streets are victims of violence at home.  Iranian officials have expressed grave concern in recent months over a rapid rise in prostitution and suicide among women.

 

Saudi gang rape sentence 'unjust' 16 November 2007 [38]A lawyer for a gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia who was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail says the punishment contravenes Islamic law. The woman was initially punished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes - she was in an unrelated man's car at the time of the attack. When she appealed, judges doubled her sentence, saying she had been trying to use the media to influence them. Her lawyer was suspended from the case and faced a disciplinary session. She was subsequently accused of having an affair. After international outcry, King Abdullah issued a royal pardon in the public interest.

 

F: To Seek a Muslim Husband, or avoid non-Muslim Suitors.

 

Muslim men often seek religious women because they will be more faithful, less willful and more easily controlled.  The overt sign of this is wearing the hijab and particularly the niqab. Before deciding on wearing the niqab for this reason, a young woman should carefully consider the possible consequences.

 

 

Wearing a niqab indicates clearly to a prospective husband that a woman accepts all these tenets of Islam, and will submit herself to him in the way the scriptures dictate, beating included as an ordinance of God himself.

 

Muslim Mullahs lay down the law of beating, often with a fiery tongue [39], making no ambiguity about the desirability and even the necessity of wife-beating, as God’s divine will:

 

“We must know that [wife] beating is a punishment in Islamic religious law. No one should deny that this was permitted by the Creator of Man and because when you purchase an electric appliance or car, you get a catalogue explaining how to use it, the Creator has sent down a book [the Qur’an] in order to show Man which ways he must choose. We shouldn’t be ashamed before the nations of the world, who are still in their days of ignorance, to admit that these [beatings] are part of our religious law. We must remind the ignorant from among the Islamic Nation who followed the [West] that those [Westerners] acknowledge the wondrous nature of this verse.”

 

“There are three types of woman with whom life is impossible without beatings. In America, six million women are beaten by their husbands every year. These are their own official statistics. 4000-6000 women die as a result of their husbands’ beatings.  The London police every year answer 100,000 phone calls and complaints of attacks against wives. In France, their slogan is “Beat the wife morning, noon and night, and don’t ask her why – she knows the reason”. But they use their media to blow this out of proportion. They blow what is happening in Muslim countries out of proportion. They bring a woman from South East Asia with a swollen face and present her on TV claiming this was done by a Muslim who attacked his wife. They forget that Islam is a religion that forbids beating the face even of beasts. It is forbidden to beat even a donkey on its face. The intelligent people in the [West] admit that a woman does not feel comfort and is not happy unless she’s under a man who commands, forbids, controls, and leads. This is the nature of people according to Allah’s creation. Allah has created woman, whether Muslim or infidel, to be happy under a strong man who will protect her and live with her. It is not surprising then that a French woman came before a judge in the land of false freedom and equality and said “I don’t want this husband”. The judge asked her “Why?” and she replied: “He didn’t lead me, didn’t oppress me, didn’t castigate me, didn’t talk to me violently, didn’t say: “Don’t do this, do that”. The judge replied: “Don’t [his actions] support those who call for equality between man and woman?”. The infidel woman answered, “No, no, I don’t want him to compete with me, I want a man who leads and rules me”. This is the nature according to which Allah created people, but they contaminated and replaced it with licentiousness and evil. A woman there knows that she has lost the battle and was misread in the worst way, and she became like gum the husband chews and throws into the filthy garbage can.”

 

“[The Qur’an says:] “and beat them”. This verse is of a wondrous nature. There are three types of women with whom a man cannot live unless he carries a rod on his shoulder. The first type is a woman who was brought up this way. Her parents ask her to go to school and she doesn’t – they beat her. “Eat” – “I don’t want to” – they beat her. So she became accustomed to beatings, she was brought up that way. We pray Allah will help her husband later. He will get along with her only if he practices wife beating. The second type is a woman who is condescending towards her husband and ignores him. With her too only a rod will help. The third type is a twisted woman who will not obey her husband, unless he oppresses her, beats her, uses force against her and overpowers her with his voice.”

 

The passage clearly sets out an agenda of women submitting, under pain of beating, to the orders of their husbands.  Once again women are treated the same as domestic animals. As in the passage in reason 8, this passage treats Western women as bubble gum to be spat out by [Muslim] men, and once again, occurrence of illegal violence by a fraction of men in the West is used as an excuse for religiously ordained violence by all Muslim men. The figures quoted for beatings resulting in death in the West are wildly exaggerated. The quoted figures for the US homicide of a female intimate have declined from around 1500 in 1980 to around 1150 in 2005 [40]. Not all of these have arisen from beatings. Not actual depravity but sexual emancipation itself is regarded as licentiousness and evil.  Again the blame for all this is cast on the female who it is claimed desires to be dominated, oppressed, or even beaten.

 


G. Because one’s Father, Family, Muslim husband, or his Family, Expect, or Insist on it.

 

 

Girls in Muslim families are expected to follow tradition and as they reach puberty assume the hijab or its more restrictive forms.  Fathers expect their daughters to conform for the honour of the family and given the honour-shame cultures of many Islamic societies, any deviation is deemed to bring shame on the family. It is thus difficult for young girls to step outside the ties of tradition, even when families migrate to settle in Western cultures which do not share these values.

 

Honour killings, which are rife in many traditional Arab and Muslim societies, can result not only from having a boyfriend not approved by the family, but simply from failing to wear the hijab as ordered by one’s father. Although honour killings are rarer in Western countries, which do not turn a blind eye to the disappearance of family members, two cases illustrate just how severe and out of hand situations involving family honour and perceived shame can become.

 

In the first [41], a daughter is strangled by her father in Canada for refusing to wear the hijab, and in the second [42], a sister of a girl murdered by her father for having a Lebanese Christian boyfriend, who ran away from home at 16, and gave evidence against her father, has to hide in a niqab wherever she goes, out of fear of being murdered in retaliation by relatives. Many Muslim families have devoted loving fathers, and husbands, but these cases illustrate the pressures girls and women in Muslim families can be under to conform, a curse, which cannot be continue to be denied by the Muslim community.

 

Aqsa Parvez and Bekhal Mahmood

 

Canadian Father Murders Teenage Daughter Over Refusal To Wear Muslim Hijab Headscarf  Toronto December 11, 2007 - A Mississauga, Ont., cab driver has been charged with the murder of his 16-year-old daughter, who was attacked in the family home after clashing with her strict Muslim family over whether or not to wear the hijab, the traditional Islamic head scarf for women. Police sources said she was strangled. Aqsa Parvez was an ordinary 16-year-old Canadian teenager who dared to refuse to be subjugated as a woman according to Muslim religious law. She would leave her home dressed in a Hijab and then change her clothing at school. Her father found out and decided to make sure the “family honour” was preserved.

 

'Honour killing' sister breaks her silence 17 June 2007 Every time Bekhal Mahmod leaves the safety of her home, she wears the hijab with a black veil covering her face - even though she would give anything for the freedom not to have to. "My life will always be at risk," says 22-year-old Bekhal. "There are people in my community who want to see me dead, and they will not rest until I am. I will never be safe. I wear the veil so no one can recognize me." Bekhal, 22, ran away aged 16 rather than agree to an arranged marriage to a cousin in Iraq. She survived an attempted killing by her brother, but her sister Banaz, 20, paid the ultimate price for leaving her own arranged marriage and then falling in love with an "unsuitable man" of her own choice. On the orders of her 52-year-old father and uncle, Ari Mahmod, 50, she was strangled with a bootlace by Kurdish assassins, her body stuffed in a suitcase and buried six feet down in the garden of a house belonging to an associate in Birmingham.

 

For Muslim women to remain strong depends not only on their husbands and family, but the support of other women in a society where women have to struggle to maintain their strategic position in the world.  The fact that many Muslim women staunchly defend the religious and political agenda of resurgent Islam puts pressure on women who do not conform to tow the line and support the cause or find themselves out in the cold in one area where they cannot afford to be.

 

H: To make an Islamic Political Statement, and Maintain a Curtain of Separation from the Culture in which one Resides.

 

Unveiling the Democratic Process: The Leader of the British House of Commons, Jack Straw, has kick-started a national debate about the veil (more precisely the face-veil or niqab in Arabic) by suggesting that it has held back the integration of some British Muslims.

 

The hijab, and particularly the niqab has become a form of political statement, particularly in the West, of intransigent, resurgent Islam. The niqab is ideal to use in anonymous protest and has also been the basis of landmark court cases testing the religious tolerance of the West against issues of security and cultural integrity. These go beyond protest in the name of equality and lead to a harder line of cultural jihad by some Muslim women against the Western societies in which they reside.

 

The claim that hijab and niqab are sunna under Sharia uses this political argument as the law:

 

“As mentioned in Evidences for Jilbab, the purpose of the jilbab is to protect the Muslim woman and to assert her Islamic identity; clearly then, niqab is an extra form of protection and an extra step to take in asserting Islamic identity.”

 

These political struggles are not confined to the West and also occur in countries, such as Turkey where there is a contest between Islamist agendas seeking to return to Sharia based attitudes and Muslim societies which have established their development on secular principles. Currently the headscarf is again banned in universities following the annulment of the government’s bill by the courts [43].

 

Turkish headscarf rally

 

In Egypt, increasing numbers of young women are choosing to wear the veil as a political protest against the government and rules against full veiling in university, amid death threats against the claim that the niqab is not compulsory [44]:

 

Veil war breaks out on Egypt university campus  Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent October 22, 2006 Last week, a female Muslim preacher was threatened with death after declaring the niqab was not an Islamic duty. Suad Saleh, a famous TV preacher [45] and a former dean of the women's college at the religious University of Al Azhar, told the private satellite channel TV Dream that it was wrong to consider the niqab an obligatory item of the Islamic attire. "There is no unequivocal text in the Holy Quran that women must cover their faces," she argued. Islamists have filed a lawsuit against Saleh and Dream TV over the remarks. "The niqab was common in the Arabian Peninsula centuries before Islam and was not imposed by this religion," said Amnah Nousir, a professor of Islamic philosophy. "The face is one's mirror. So why should the woman hide herself behind this black veil?" she told Gulf News. Her argument is supported by Jamal Al Bana, a liberal Muslim thinker, who said in a recent interview that "the niqab is an insult and he who calls for it is backward".

 

In defence of their sequestering, many Muslim women declare a position that Islam is a protector of women’s rights, and that the hijab, and more restrictive niqab, is for their benefit, to prevent harassment, claiming that Western societies debase and exploit women as sex objects.

 

“Does Islam oppress women? No. On the contrary, 1400 years ago Islam liberated women. At that time in Europe, Christian scholars were debating whether women had souls, if yes, did they have animal souls or human souls? Until recently women were stripped of their last names to illustrate that they were the property of their husbands. As for Islam, women are equal to men in all acts of piety, they keep their last names, they are allowed to keep their own money, choose who they want to marry, have the right to seek a divorce, have the right to inheritance and have the right to be protected and maintained by their husbands. They have been dignified and exonerated by the Hijab (Islamic covering). In the West, women are portrayed as sex objects to be used and discarded. We see them being used to sell cars, alcohol and even bubble gum. In Islam, women have been elevated to a stature that surpasses the roles placed upon them by any religion or culture. Women are not to be abused or oppressed but they are to be respected and cared for. As a result, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world amongst women.”

 

The difficulty with this kind of argument is that it ignores the frank oppression of women that does occur today in many Islamic cultures, both Shia and Sunni, as well as distorting the situation in the West, in a way which confuses the real gains made by women over centuries, with claims of Western decadence, when sexual exploitation, prostitution, rape and murder is worldwide, but in denial in Muslim countries, where cases are underreported for fear of inaction and retaliation.

 

It also depends on looking backwards to the distant past, when the world has moved forward, and must do so, to survive in a closing planet. While it is true that the West did have dark ages of repression, since the Renaissance, which began ironically with the fall of Constantinople to the Muslims in 1453, over 600 years ago, the West has moved on and a major part of the civil liberties the West now has, have been achieved only after a long, bitter and violent struggle against the religious oppression of the Catholic Church, during several hundred years of Inquisition. These changes are not depraved or misguided, nor are they against the will of God.

 

The claim that Islam established a better respect for women than previously in the uncontrolled sexuality of the jahiliyya (chaos and ignorance) before Islam is also incorrect. There is abundant evidence that Islam curtailed the rights of women often violently. When the matriarch Om Kerfa, who was so respected that if she sent a scroll to warring tribes they would reconcile out of respect for her, wrote derisive poetry about the Prophet, he had her murdered, torn down the middle at the age of 90 by tying her legs to two camels [46].

 

"She is Fatima daughter of Rabia son of Badir son of Amru al Fazari. Mother of Kerfa married a prince of the tribe of Hathifa and bore for him 13 children the first of whom was Kerfa by whom she is surnamed. All her children became leaders of their tribes. She was the dearest of all Arabs, and an example of honor and pride to them.. It was said if two tribes fought and Mother of Kerfa sent her scholl on a spear that was displayed to both parties, then they would reconcile out of respect for her. She used to annoy the prophet with her poetry so in the sixth year of the Hijra (638 AD) he sent Zaid son of Haritha on a military expedition to kill her in the most heinous of ways. For he tied her legs with ropes and tied each of the ropes to a camel so that she was split in two. She was an old woman when this happened and her head was severed as proof to all that she had died. "

 

Nawaal el Sadaawi The circumcised Egyptian author of “The Naked Face of Eve”, who has railed against FGM and documented the Muhammad’s murder of Sarah, and been threatened with prosecution for correctly noting the Hajj is a pre-Islamic rite.

 

As noted by Nawal el Sadaawi [47] one of the first things Muhammad did on his victorious entry into Mecca was to order the slave singer Sarah summarily murdered for singing songs against his religion [48]. Women who protested the Muslim take over or celebrated his demise with tambourines and songs had their hands cut off and their tongues cut out.

 

"Sarah was a famous slave singer who aimed her barbed words against the Moslems. She was among those whom Mahomet ordered to be executed on the day of his victorious entry into Mecca. In the region of El Nagir, it was recounted that some women had rejoiced when the Prophet died and Abu Bake, the first of the Caliphs, ordered their hands and feet to be cut off. Thus women who dared to give voice to their protest or opposition could be exposed to cruel punishment. Their hands might be cut off, or their teeth pulled out, or their tongues torn from their mouths. This last form of punishment was usually reserved for those who were singers. It was said of these women that they used to dye their hands with henna, brazenly display the seductions of their beauty, and beat time with their fingers on tambourines and drums in defiance of God, and in derision towards the rights of God and his Prophet. It was therefore necessary to cut off their hands and tear out their tongues". 

 

Despite initially accepting the Goddesses al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat, beloved by the people of Mecca , Muhammad then cursed them, resulting in his having to flee for Medina [49], smashing the idols of all the temples on his victorious return, but retaining many pre-Islamic features, such as the Hajj, which like the Ka’aba had previously been observed in a sacred state of religious tolerance.

 

When the banu-Umahmah were slaughtered and the women of Daws ‘debased’ for defending dhu-al-Khalasah which stood half way to San'a, the historian al-Bukhari notes that the Prophet himself said [50]:

 

"This world shall not pass away until the buttocks of the women of Daws wiggle [again]

around the dhu-al-Khalasah and they worship it as they were want to do [before Islam]".

 

Geraldine Brooks [51] comments about further atrocity against women:

 

"Not everyone mourned the passing of Islam's prophet. In the southern Arabian region of Hadramaut, six women decorated their hands with henna, as if for a wedding, and took to the streets beating tambourines in joyful celebration of Muhammad's death. Soon, about twenty others joined the merry gathering. When word of the celebration reached Abu Bake, he sent out the cavalry to deal with 'the whores of Hadramaut.' When his warriors arrived, the men of the settlement came to their women's defense but were defeated. As punishment, the women had their henna-painted, tambourine-playing hands severed at the wrists.

 

In “Beyond the Veil”, Fatima Mernissi [52] makes clear that before Islam, women had if anything greater powers and a degree of female autonomy in reproductive choice, much like the Tuareg still do to a degree today despite having adopted Islam, and that women tried again to break free of the Muslim yoke on the death of Muhammad [53]:

 

What of the claim that women were better off under Islam than under the pagan systems before? According to Muslims, that stage was characterized by jahiliyya, which means “ignorance” or “barbarism.” At this time, there was only promiscuous and uncontrolled sex, and women were not treated with respect. Mernissi argues that this isn’t true at all, and offers quite a lot of evidence which suggests that women had quite a lot of sexual self-determination in their hands, often tied to social status. She even cites an example of women who knew what they had prior to Islam and didn’t like the changes.

 

After Muhammad’s death, apostasy swept across Arabia because people felt that without him, there was no point in following his ideas. One apostate group was led by women who were described by the faithful as “harlots.” But this group was very diverse and included elderly grandmothers, little girls, and women from noble households. Whatever it was that they had before Islam, it is clear that they liked it much better than what they had to endure under Islam. And it is also clear that their problems with Islam were likely sexual in nature, otherwise their critics would not have used the specific label of “harlot” to condemn them with. The panorama of female sexual rights in pre-Islamic culture reveals that women’s sexuality was not bound by the concepts of legitimacy. Children belonged to the mother’s tribe. Women had sexual freedom to enter into and break off unions with more than one man, either simultaneously or successively. A woman could either reserve herself to one man at a time, on a more or less temporary basis, as in mut’a marriage, or she could be visited by many husbands at different times whenever their nomadic tribe or trade caravan came through the woman’s town or camping ground. The husband would come and go, the main unit was the mother and child within an entourage of kinfolk.

 

Such patterns of female autonomy and integrity are still practiced today by the Tuareg Berbers of the Sahara [54] [55], who, despite later adopting Islam, have remained true to their two-thousand year old traditions of female sexual choice.  Here it is men who wear the face veil to ward of evil spirits and protect against the desert sands, while women are not veiled, and are unique in possessing a written language for women’s use, in which literacy is power [56]:

 

Unlike their neighbors" Arabs", Tuareg women are allowed to choose their mates; men may have more than one wife, but it is not generally practiced. Courtship dances are held to give the young people a chance to meet: the "tendi" and the "ahal". The tendi is usually an afternoon celebration, while the ahal is held in the evening and might feature a visiting musician. The Tuareg even have an equivalent to the medieval "court of love" with a "Sultan" and "Sultana" chosen to preside over the gathering. it is common for a girl to take a camel and ride all night to see a man, and them return to her own place; or for a suitor to undertake superhuman expeditions to see his lady. The Tuareg bride retains control of all her personal property, including livestock, while the husband is expected to pay the family's expenses. After marriage, respectable behavior is required of both sexes, but a woman may have friends of both sexes in a way that correlates more to western culture. A Tuareg proverb says, "Men and women towards each other are for the eyes and the heart, and not only for the bed."

 

Among the Tuareg, women enjoy freedom of choice in sexual involvement and actively pursue romantic preferences. They may have male visitors when their husbands are absent. Women also retain custody of their children after divorce. Children are the financial responsibility of their fathers but they are considered by nature and by custom as belonging to their mothers. The tents and their furnishings are the personal property of the women. When a woman wants a divorce, she takes her bed (the only bed in the tent) to her mother's place. If she is real serious, she takes the tent as well and the husband has no place where to sleep, he must find shelter with his mother.

 

From a different perspective, we have cultural jihad waged by Western converts, in the guise of women’s liberation, based on the misguided belief that the niqab is God’s will [57]:

 

“Of all places, I found my Islam at the heart of what some call “the most scandalous place on earth,” which makes it all the more dear and special. While content with Hijab I became curious about Niqab, seeing an increasing number of Muslim women in it. I asked my Muslim husband, whom I married after I reverted to Islam, whether I should wear Niqab or just settle for the Hijab I was already wearing. My husband simply advised me that he believes Hijab is mandatory in Islam while Niqab is not. At the time, my Hijab consisted of head scarf that covered all my hair except for my face, and a loose long black gown called “Abaya” that covered all my body from neck to toe. A year-and-a-half passed, and I told my husband I wanted to wear Niqab. My reason, this time, was that I felt it would be more pleasing to Allah, the Creator, increasing my feeling of peace at being more modest. He supported my decision and took me to buy an “Isdaal,” a loose black gown that covers from head to toe, and Niqab, which covers all my head and face except for my eyes. I find it to be a blatant hypocrisy when Western governments and so-called human rights groups rush to defend woman’s rights when some governments impose a certain dress code on women, yet such “freedom fighters” look the other way when women are being deprived of their rights, work, and education just because they choose to exercise their right to wear Niqab or Hijab. Today I am still a feminist, but a Muslim feminist, who calls on Muslim women to assume their responsibilities in providing all the support they can for their husbands to be good Muslims. … To fight for our right to wear Niqab or Hijab and to please our Creator whichever way we chose. But just as importantly to carry our experience with Niqab or Hijab to fellow women who may never have had the chance to understand what wearing Niqab or Hijab means to us and why do we, so dearly, embrace it.”

 

While Sara Bokker has herself chosen to become an evangelist Muslim and, like many Muslim women who fervently believe in God, now believes in all the tenets of her newly found religion, even those most questionably sexist and not supported by anything in the Qur’an, including the fallacious notion that al-Llah finds the niqab more pleasing. While she has become a co-founder of "The Global Sisters Network," and a documentary producer for the March for Justice Shock and Awe Gallery [58], her arguments remain troublingly similar to the first commentary. Her one-eyed selective denial of the negative effects of the niqab on trust, transparency and cultural integrity concerning many in the West, and the consequences of such an idealistic campaign for those Muslim women who live in conservative societies and are genuinely oppressed by the Muslim cultures in which they live lacks the justice and equanimity she claims Islam provides. It is hypocritical to attack any form of concern in the West while at the same time ignoring major areas of concern in the Muslim world.  It is a privilege she enjoys because she is a Muslim living in a Western democracy. It would be interesting to see how she could continue to call this women’s liberation if she were only allowed to see through one eye for the rest of her life, because even the niqab was too enticing to men, as Sheik al-Habadan declared based on the many hadiths.

 

Here is a further position rejecting the niqab, from a moderate Muslim woman put in a sensitive way, which other Muslim women have greatly appreciated [59]:

 

“A very common argument by women who hide their face behind the niqab is that it is liberating. That it lets women be judged by their personality and intellect and not by their beauty and sexuality. That it does not make them sex objects like the scantily clad western or westernized women. I do not buy this. On the contrary, I believe that the niqab gives the implication that women are sex objects, as much as provocative clothes do, only from a different perspective. This is not what Islam intended for women. And so, in a way, niqab is unislamic. Women who think that they have to totally cover or else will provoke men's sexual desires, are in fact implying, even if unknowingly, that women are sex objects. They are sending the terrible message that a woman is not a person but is a " awra" ( something that is shameful to look at) , who should not be seen (or even heard). That it is expected of men to be sexually aroused at the site of a face or a hand. God gave each of us a face and gave us facial expressions as part of being human. We each have our unique identity that is manifested by our face. The face, and not only the voice, reflects the personality and the intellect. And in covering it, a woman becomes a no-person.”

 

France's top administrative court, the state council, on June 27 rejected a citizenship request on the grounds that the woman's Muslim practices were incompatible with French laws on secularism and gender equality [60]. In responding to the rejection Urban Affairs Minister Fadela Amara, herself a practicing Muslim born in France to Algerian parents, said in an interview to Le Parisien [61]:

 

"The burqa is a prison, it's a straightjacket. It is not a religious insignia but the insignia of a totalitarian

political project that advocates inequality between the sexes and which is totally devoid of democracy."

 

Sultaana Freeman

 

In September 2008, France’s anti-discrimination agency ruled it is acceptable to ban the niqab and burqa from state-sponsored French language classes for immigrants [62]. Under French law, such classes are sometimes required in order to apply for French residency or citizenship. A controversial 2003 law banned students from wearing apparel with religious connotations, like the Muslim headscarf, Jewish skull cap and large Christian crosses, in public schools. However a bed and breakfast has been fined for refusing two women wearing headscarves, illustrating the attempt to find a ‘reasonable compromise’. Likewise the Dutch have moved to place a partial ban on the burqa in schools and government offices, in a retreat from the previous government's plan for a general ban [63].  In the US, where freedom of worship is protected by the First Amendment,  a US convert Sultaana Freeman lost an appeal preventing her continuing to have a US driver’s license unless she lifted her niqab for the iD photo [64]. In the UK in March 2007, Education Secretary Alan Johnson gave state schools authority to ban the wearing of Muslim veils on “safety, security and teaching” grounds. The policy applies only to full-face-covering veils. For a country-by-country summary, see [65].

 

To get a good picture of the gulf separating defenders of the veil, sequestered in the luxury of U.S. universities, where none of the harm will befall them that meets the women of Basra or Teheran when they step outside their homes, one only has to look at Fadwa el Gundi’s “Veil” [66].  In a review of her work, along with the following one, “Rage Against the Veil” [67] Silja Talvi notes [68]:

 

For women, El Guindi explains, veiling in contemporary Arab culture fulfills numerous social and religious functions. Depending on region and cultural context, veiling can signify privacy, kinship, status, power, autonomy, and/or political resistance. Veils and modest Islamic dress, explains El Guindi, grant women an important private spiritual space even in the public sphere. It is a mistake, suggests El Guindi, to presuppose that the Islamic faith denies women the right to express or enjoy their own sexuality: "Islam accepts sexuality as a normative aspect of both ordinary and religious life." El Guindi insists that observant, veiled Islamic women should not be pitied. Instead, she says, they should be seen as free from the male gaze and from sexualized attention, and must rightly be understood to be observing—and drawing pride from—Islam's central tenets: Privacy, humility, piety and moderation.

 

However the essential hypocrisy of this approach becomes apparent when she refers to the ongoing repression in Iran as a kind of womens empowerment:

 

"The enforcement of hijab can be as empowering as its ban, while it undoubtedly restricts some women, it emancipates others by legitimizing their presence in public life."

 

No starker contrast to this can be made than “Rage Against the Veil”:

 

On February 21, 1994, Dr. Darabi's life ended in an act of profound desperation and defiance that captured international headlines, and thrust a new spotlight on the lives of women living in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Darabi, who had been an accomplished, respected female child psychiatrist in both Iran and the United States, committed one of the most painful, and visually shocking forms of suicide known to humankind: Public self-immolation. "Homa was appalled by the laws of hijab," writes her sister Parvin. "Of course, these laws are often the most talked about throughout the world. They are a quickly recognizable symbol of the treatment of women in Iran. Proponents of the rules often argue that they are designed to protect the dignity of women and to prevent the male population from some sort of 'excessive fornication.' Nevertheless, beneath the surface and beyond the laws of hijab existed nationally sanctioned rules of law which were much harder to absolve ... From the beginning, Homa protested the establishment of the Islamic Republic by participating in demonstrations with other women and speaking out. She demanded that democracy be instituted as it had been promised." Versatile in both languages and cultures, Homa ultimately chose to forego the relative freedom afforded to her in the United States (Parvin's adopted country) for her beloved native land. As restrictions on women's behavior and appearance grew tighter through the early 90s, Homa spoke by telephone with her sister, detailing her mounting horror at the torture and public stoning executions of women who, unintentionally or intentionally, broke the laws that dictated strict Islamic appearance and conduct. Eventually, Homa lost both her teaching appointments and her private practice over her refusal to fully comply with mandatory rules of hijab.

 

Talvi pinpoints the systematic errors of rationalization in El Guindi’s defence of the veil as political protest, particularly when applied to women who choose not to wear the veil for revolutionary political reasons, or because they are non-Muslims, or wish to maintain sexual autonomy of choice, when faced with legal retribution in a conservative Muslim state if they don’t submit:

 

Unfortunately, the incomplete nature of the work leaves her premise of empowerment surprisingly weak. While she devotes more coverage to Egypt, a country that has been the focus of much of El Guindi's fieldwork, she grants a scant three paragraphs of Veil to Palestinian women. As chronicled in the essays and books of such writers as Mona Rishmani, Hamida Kazi, Philippa Strum and Kitty Warnock, Palestinian women's struggles are notable not only for their use of the hijab as a symbol of resistance to Israeli occupation, but also for their protest against mandatory veiling. Palestinian feminists and many women's groups have long decried the patriarchal control exerted by Hamas in the Occupied Territories, as well as in countries like Algeria. Yet with only a hint at the pressures and physical abuses brought upon Palestinian women by Hamas over the issue of the hijab—a struggle that was particularly heated in the late '80s—El Guindi is more comfortable highlighting the role of the veil in Algerian women's resistance to French occupation. And in her discussion of Algerian women's struggles, El Guindi overlooks the subsequent downfall of women's rights and freedoms after national liberation. "We will not be another Algeria!" was, in point of fact, a common rallying cry of many Palestinian women's groups active in resisting both Israeli occupation and Palestinian patriarchal domination throughout the Intifada.

 

In a valiant and important attempt to steer the discussion of Middle Eastern and North Africa women's lives away from the more close-minded, ethnocentric viewpoint that brands veiled Muslim women as little more than oppressed victims of religious dogma, El Guindi commits a parlous error of omission. Namely, what happens when veiling, as in Iran, goes from being a brave, revolutionary tactic to an institutionalized, enforced norm? What kinds of societal and cultural pressures—and life-threatening punishments—are brought to bear on those women who defy those norms by accident, or by intention?

 

Women defenders of Islam also run shy of the fact that, women are not equal under the law, being only worth half the value of a man in property and evidence:

 

" Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females" (4:11)  "call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses" (2: 282).

 

A hadith narrated by Abu Said al-Khudri and Sahih Bukhari explains the connection:

 

"The Prophet said, 'Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?'
The women said, 'Yes.' He said, 'This is because of the deficiency of a woman's mind'."

 

Two Muslim woman speakers [69], [70] reject the significance of the ‘deficiency’ hadith, stating that nowhere does the Quran, or hadith, say a man can tell a Muslim woman how to practice her religion, correctly noting that brain scans, such as MRI, do not show differences justifying this conclusion, and that any differences which do exist are an important asset, in terms of emotional responsiveness in mothering and caring for the family.

 

God has not made woman’s mind deficient. This hadith is not describing God’s will but expressing patriarchal male attitudes. Likewise the suras giving a woman half the status, in law and endowment, are an expression of Arab tribal custom, not the will of God.

 

If we are talking human rights, it serves us well to consider carefully the reference to women as domestic animals in al-Tabari's account of the prophet's last and most famous speech (Al-Tabari, Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Jarir. The History of al-Tabari. Vol.IX: The Last Years of the Prophet. Translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala. State University of NewYork Press, Albany, 1990 (Pages 112-114) [71]:

 

"Treat women well, for they are [like] domestic animals (‘awan) with you and do not possess anything for themselves. You have taken them only as a trust from God, and you have made the enjoyment of their persons lawful by the word of God, so understand and listen to my words, O people."

 

Aisha noted the same association in the hadith :

 

“The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away, for I disliked to face him.”

 

Again the Qur’an refers to women as fertile tilth for ploughing:

 

Your wives are a tilth for you, so go into your tilth when you like (2.223)

 

Yet some women’s lives in conservative Islamic countries are far worse than animals. If the Taliban weren’t bad enough beating women if they showed any makeup or jewelry under their burkas, instituting medieval punishments such as stoning for adultery, confining women to the home where they could not work, even if they were widowed, and stopping a girl’s education at the age of 8, in addition to repeated instances of women burned alive by their husbands, we find under the harsh rule later in Herat an epidemic of Afghani girls burning themselves to death.

 

Gulbar was admitted to a local hospital in Badghis province in Northern Afghanistan in November 2005. She had been burnt by her husband. According to her mother, she married a man 3 years ago but he was very cruel person and was torturing her on daily bases. Finally Gulbar ran away to her mother's house. The next day her husband came and asked her to return home otherwise he will kill her, she refused to go with him, when he found her alone in the house, threw petrol on her body, set her on fire and he himself escaped. The neighbors hear her voice and rush to help, when they control the fire, almost 40% of her body was burnt. She has been in the hospital for past 40 days but no file has been cased against her husband. Police and other authorities, who are mostly former commanders, turn a blind eye on these cases.

 

Self-Immolation Of Women On The Rise In Western Provinces March 1, 2004  The Afghan government is expressing concern over the growing number of women in Herat Province who have killed themselves through self- immolation. Forced marriages and a continued lack of access to education is contributing to the growing despair among Herat's women. "One of the women that I met was about 29. She already had four children, [and] she was seven months pregnant when she burned herself. She was experiencing problems with her husband and family; they wouldn't allow her to go and visit her own family. She set fire to herself. She then gave birth to a baby with no painkillers. The baby girl was taken by her aunt to look after her, and [the mother] died three weeks after giving birth," Virdee said. At least 52 women in the province have killed themselves in recent months through self-immolation. A Herat regional hospital last year recorded 160 cases of attempted suicide among girls and women between the ages of 12 and 50. But Virdee says the real number is probably much higher because there is no reporting from remoter areas. Afghan officials say poverty, forced marriages, and lack of access to education are the main reasons for suicide among women in Herat. Domestic violence is also widespread. "A lot of women are saying that their husbands don't allow them to go and visit their families. There are severe restrictions on their movement, and also there is violence towards them - both physical and psychological - and intimidation and isolation".

 

I: It is a Woman’s Easiest way to make Jihad against Western Liberation.

 

Sarah Bokker is an American Muslim convert, clearly choosing to wear the niqab as an act of cultural struggle, or jihad. As stated in the beginning of this section, a conservative Islamic opinion is that: “Hijab is a jihad that purifies the soul, so niqab is a greater jihad.” 

 

The concept of jihad as struggle also invites sexist Mullahs to expect Muslim women to submit themselves to a struggle with their niqabs and to negate their egos in a jihad with their own souls:

 

.

You can get score highest marks in 350-018 exam using Pass4sure 642-980 and Testking 642-889 which are prepared by top certified professionals, Actualtests 1z0-060 & JUNIPER training; both are marvelous in their nature.

.

“As well, for many sisters, hijab is a spiritual jihad because it often seems so difficult to wear. At times we may be forced to look deep into ourselves and find our faith and our courage. This provides many spiritual benefits in itself, and an increase of taqwa. Again, just think how much more of a challenge niqab is, and how much greater the benefits when the nafs (inner self) has been conquered!”

 

The clear implication is that the struggle of greater imposition of veiling is itself good for women, regardless of its effect on the world at large, simply because it purifies their ‘deficient’ souls.

 

The utopian agenda of Islam as a world religion divides the world between the Domain of Islam, or submission to the will of God, and Dar al-Harb the Domain of War.

 

"So fight them until there is no more disbelief (fitnah)
and all submit to the religion of Allah alone" (8:39).

 

Demanding women wear the veil as an expression of Muslim identity and separate themselves from so-called decadent Western culture is a strategic instrument of world jihad. Thus Muslim women are exhorted to fight jihad, not just as military war, but as the struggle of Islam for cultural supremacy, by adopting the niqab in Muslim countries and by refusing to integrate with Western culture and imposing the niqab on cultures they have migrated to, resulting in a string of court cases, for and against wearing the niqab, in everything from driver’s license photographs to teaching in the classroom.

 

Malika El Aroud in Niqab

 

“On the street, Malika El Aroud [72], [73] is anonymous in an Islamic black veil covering all but her eyes. Two days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, her husband carried out a bombing in Afghanistan that killed the anti-Taliban warlord Ahmed Shah Massoud at the behest of Osama bin Laden. Her husband was killed, and she took to the Internet as the widow of a martyr. In her living room, Ms. El Aroud, a 48-year-old Belgian, wears the ordinary look of middle age: a plain black T-shirt and pants and curly brown hair. The only adornment is a pair of powder-blue slippers monogrammed in gold with the letters SEXY. But it is on the Internet where Ms. El Aroud has distinguished herself. Writing in French under the name “Oum Obeyda,” she has transformed herself into one of the most prominent Internet jihadists in Europe. She calls herself a female holy warrior for Al Qaeda. She insists that she does not disseminate instructions on bomb-making and has no intention of taking up arms herself. Rather, she browbeats Muslim men to go and fight and rallies women to join the cause. “It’s not my role to set off bombs — that’s ridiculous,” she said in a rare interview. “I have a weapon. It’s to write. It’s to speak out. That’s my jihad. You can do many things with words. Writing is also a bomb.”

5.     Abrogating Violent Punishments for Adultery

 

Death by cruel or unusual punishment for sexual transgression is the ultimate weapon in the maintenance of purdah and the ultimate form purdah can take in terms of complete annihilation.

 

In Western societies today adultery is a purely civil question. The natural and appropriate remedies, if a person has been found to have had an affair, whether married, or with an existing common law partner, or in the event of irreconcilable differences, is divorce, or separation, with compensation to enable the disadvantaged parties to continue their lives and look after any children. Adultery is not a criminal offence, nor an offence against religious law, and there are no punishments involving violence, such as whipping, nor cruel and unreasonable means of inflicting death such as stoning.

 

Although the Western culture has developed from Judeo-Christian roots and the Bible does contain exhortations under Deuteronomic law to stone for adultery, no Christian or Jew, no matter how orthodox or how much they are a literal fundamentalist and believe the Bible is the literal word of God remotely considers appropriate or justifiable (or acceptable under the law of the land) that a daughter should be stoned for adultery, or for not possessing the tokens of virginity.

 

By contrast, in Muslim countries, because Islam confounds together Qur’an, Sharia and Islamic State into one monolith, actions which are part of the sexual and reproductive choices adults make autonomously in their lives becomes a matter of applying 6th century tribal punishments to 3rd millennium situations. This situation is unacceptable, oppressive and diabolical.  For this reason all scripture prescribing any form of violent punishment for adultery or its associated misdemeanours is hereby abrogated.

 

Two women being stoned to death by a crowd of men in Iran

 

The Arabic word zina' that is often translated by the word 'adultery' really means any sexual relations between a woman and a man who are not bound to each other by a legal marriage (from adultery to rape), and as long as slavery existed, intimate relations between a man and a slave who did not belong to him or was married to another.

 

The Qur'an does NOT prescribe stoning to death for adultery. Nevertheless, in many Islamic countries to this day, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangla Desh and Saudi Arabia women are regularly stoned to death. Sharia uses the precedent of Deuteronomic law to kill women for what is often only nominally 'adultery'.

 

"A woman, Noorjehan Begum was, by most accounts, the daughter of a landless peasant - a twenty-one-year-old who, in January, 1993, after her first marriage was dissolved, married again. The local mullah, giving no reasons, declared that a second marriage was contrary to Islamic law. A few weeks later, just after dawn, she was led to an open field in a small village in the district of Sylhet a stronghold of the fundamentalists - where a pit had been dug overnight. She was lowered into the pit and buried waist deep. Then, slowly and methodically, she was stoned - a hundred and one times."

 

Women are also burned, hanged and beheaded and thrown down wells, whether or not they have actually committed adultery:

 

"The last case was a 17 year old - the father knowing that she lost her virginity - they took her to two doctors - both gynecologists told him that she lost her virginity - so he ended up taking her at night and throwing her head [down a well] - cutting her head totally - separating the head from the body" Palestinian woman doctor.

 

The question of adultery is closely linked to honour killing, where a women or girl is murdered and often tortured and/or raped for disobeying her family and choosing a boyfriend or husband they don’t approve of. Although defenders of Islam are quick to point out that honour killing is not an Islamic practice as such, there are three reasons why the two are intimately linked.

 

Firstly honour killing occurs almost without exception in Muslim countries or in Muslim communities in the West. Secondly in many Muslim countries, despite a continuing outcry from women, honour killing frequently goes on unpunished.  Thirdly the provisions of dire penalties for adultery under Islam are part of an honour-shame view of sexual, family and tribal relations in which women are reproductive commodities and possessions of tribe and family, so that honour killing is a logical informal extension of provisions such as whipping and stoning.

 

Hundreds of women in Pakistan are killed each year by relatives for offending family honour or Islam. Over 4000 between 1998 and 2004. In Jordan a quarter of murders are honour killings of women, whether or not they have committed a sexual act. In 2003 Jordan's parliament overwhelmingly rejected a proposed law imposing harsher punishments for men who kill female relatives in "honour killings". Islamists and conservatives said it would encourage vice and destroy social values:

 

"A woman is like an olive tree. When its branch catches woodworm, it has to be chopped off so that society stays clean and pure." (Tribal Leader on Honour Killings)

 

Jordan: A man took his two teen-age daughters, 16 and 17, for exams when he heard from neighbors that both were dating. Though the two were found to be virgins, two weeks later both were killed by their father and two brothers - they refused to believe the girls hadn't had sex. Back in Zarqa after serving one year for murder, Ahmad recalled the childhood good times with his sister Haneen. "We used to have fun when we played football together, but I always won because I am a man," he said. " Any regrets?" "I am not sorry. She was wrong. Had she been alive and committed the same mistake, I would have killed her again."

 

Turkey: A father, brother and uncle killed a 14-year old girl who had been abducted and repeatedly raped. The alleged rapist claimed in the media they had been having an affair and wanted to marry. Her father said "We wanted to marry her off first. Some relatives opposed the idea. So I decided to kill her. She begged as I strangled her ... but I didn't take any notice of her cries."

 

Women marrying for the first time are expected to be virgins no matter their age. Hymen restorations complete with a sachet of blood are necessary for many women's survival:

 

"In Jordanian society, some things remain the same. A Jordanian woman marrying for the first time, no matter what her age, must be a virgin. And if she isn't, it is a simple matter to become one again. Hymenorrhaphy, or hymen restoration, is a medical procedure offered in countries throughout the Islamic world. It takes just a few minutes, in Amman costs $300, and is done on an outpatient basis and without anesthesia. 'It is quite common in Jordan,' said Dr. Efteem Azar, one of the country's leading obstetrician/gynecologists. 'It is a very simple procedure and quickly done. Anesthesia isn't necessary because if you work with a very fine needle it is less painful than an injection of painkiller would be. Hymenorrhaphy must be done three to seven days before the wedding, because the tissue is simply pulled together and the procedure doesn't last.'" (Goodwin R249)

 

Another service gynecologists in Muslim countries are called on to supply is post-wedding night verification that the bride was a virgin before the event:

 

"It is not uncommon for a gynecologist to find in his office a blushing young bride surrounded by a whole horde of male relatives demanding that she be examined," says Dr. Azar. "She did not bleed during sexual intercourse on her wedding night, and the men all want to know why. You always have to favor the girl, because if you don't, she'll be killed by her family. Sometimes, if the girl has the opportunity, she'll beg you to cover for her. They are very frightened, they know they will be killed. So you tell the male relatives the bride had an elastic hymen, which many women do anyway, and in such cases she wouldn't bleed." (R249).

 

The Qur'an prescribes life imprisonment for indecency, but allows for mercy if the person repents:

 

"And as for those who are guilty of an indecency from among your women,

call to witnesses against them four (witnesses) from among you;

then if they bear witness confine them to the houses

until death takes them away or Allah opens some way for them" (4.15).

 

"And as for the two who are guilty of indecency from among you,

give them both a punishment; then if they repent and amend, turn aside from them;

surely Allah is Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful" (4.16).

 

And for adultery, flogging a hundred times:

 

"[As for] the fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them, [giving] a hundred stripes, and let not pity for them detain you in the matter of obedience to Allah, if you believe in Allah and the last day, and let a party of believers witness their chastisement. The fornicator shall not marry any but a fornicatress or idolatress, and (as for) the fornicatress, none shall marry her but a fornicator or an idolater; and it is forbidden to the believers" (24.3).

 

Technically four witnesses are required, although this can backfire on the victim in a case of multiple rape, where the accused men can become the accusers:

 

"And those who accuse free women then do not bring four witnesses, flog them,

(giving) eighty stripes, and do not admit any evidence from them ever;

and these it is that are the transgressors" (24.4 )

 

Left: Burying for stoning. Right" A woman stoned dead in her hole (Mazar-i_Sharif)

 

However the prescription in Sharia is stoning a woman to death for adultery.

 

The penalty for adultery under Article 83 of the penal code, called the Law of Hodoud is flogging (100 lashes of the whip) for unmarried male and female offenders. Married offenders may be punished by stoning regardless of their gender, but the method laid down for a man involves his burial up to his waist, and for a woman up to her neck (article 102). The law provides that if a person who is to be stoned manages to escape, he or she will be allowed to go free. Since it is easier for a man to escape, this discrimination literally becomes a matter of life and death. Article 104 provides that the stones should not be so large that a person dies after being hit with two of them, nor so small as to be defined as pebbles, but must cause severe injury. This makes it clear that the purpose of stoning is to inflict grievous pain on the victim, in a process leading to his or her slow death.

 

"In Muslim law the punishment of lapidation is only inflicted for adultery. Under Jewish law idolaters or bearers of false witness were also stoned. It is founded not upon the Qu'ran where the only punishment Sura 24:2 is one hundred stripes but upon the traditions where Muhammad is related to have said 'Verily God hath ordained for a man and a woman not married to one hundred lashes and expulsion from their home town for one year, and for a man and a woman having been married one hundred lashes and stoning'." When a woman is to be stoned, a hole or excavation should be dug to receive her as deep as her wallet ... The purpose of the hole is to conserve 'decency' for the female. Neither boulders nor pebbles may be used, so that death is neither mercifully quick nor endlessly prolonged" (Hughes - Dictionary of Islam).

 

"In November 1991 a thirty year-old woman named Zahra, who managed to scramble out of the pit in which she'd been buried, had her death sentence commuted: the judiciary felt that her escape must have been the will of God". Others are not so fortunate: "On August 10, 1994, in the city of Arak, a woman was sentenced to death by stoning. According to the ruling of the religious judge, her husband and two children were forced to attend the execution. The woman urged her husband to take the children away, but to no avail. A truck full of stones was brought in to be used during the stoning. In the middle of the stoning, although her eyes had been gouged out, the victim was able to escape from the ditch and started running away, but the regime's guards recaptured her and shot her to death."

 

"Those who have recently witnessed stonings describe all-male crowds, different from the mixed groups who attend beheadings. The mood is commonly one of rage and blood lust. Part of the ritual of the Hajj-the holy pilgrimage to Mecca-is the stoning of pillars meant to represent Satan. Witnesses say the woman being executed somehow becomes as dehumanized as those pillars-an outlet, perhaps, for the men's guilt at their own uncontrollable sexuality. Yet the stones in this case hit soft flesh. Because of the way she is buried, each impact snaps her neck backward in a series of excruciating whiplashes. Death often comes when her head is knocked completely off. It is hard to imagine a worse way to die.”

 

Here is a report from an American who witnessed a stoning in Saudi Arabia first hand [74]:

 

“A deep hole is dug in the ground. A 30 year old lady, tied up from feet to shoulders, as a stick, is lowered alive into this hole, in a standing position. Only her neck and head are visible. Can you imagine a human head sticking above ground? When the order is given, a man throws a fist-sized stone at her protruding head. The stone hits her head with a thud. She screems in pain as the blood oozes down her face. Another man picks up a stone and scraps the side of her head drawing a lateral line of blood. She cries and screems in excruciating pain. Since it is a free for all, a teenage spectator from this open playing field, tries his luck, but misses her head completely. Another aims at her and flings it with force. The stone hits its intended target, her forehead. She screems and cries loudly for mercy. There is now a gash on her forehead. Blood spurting out, down her eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth and down to the ground. She cries out for mercy but to not avail. The minutes become an hour, between the many misses, scraps, nicks, chips and strikes. Another spectator flings forcefully at her. The stone hits the bridge of her nose with another thud. She screems again and again. This time the blood comes down from inside and outside her nose. Probably, her nasal bridge-bone is broken, causing the bleeding from inside her nostrils as well. Though her wounds are grave, as you can imagine, her screems by now are not as vociferous as earlier, and her tears help to wash some of the blood on her cheeks. Her vision has completely gone with the blood coating. The next stone hits her again. A piece of flesh pops out. No, its not, oh god, it really can't be her eye-ball. It is so bloody that you can't really make out. By this time, blood has covered her entire face and the ground in front of her. She still makes groaning sounds. More time pass. Stoning her, continues. Her sounds are less and less audible. Her face has become unrecognisable. Flesh, like mashed meat is her face, but only more bloody, as she now literally has no human face. Small strips of flesh, like locks of hair are hanging from her. Her head is now droopping forward. At this stage a hit on her make splashes of blood. She has stopped making a sound for the last two stone pelting. Two hours have passed. The Islamic authorities check her neck for pulse. It is still beating but barely, due to the loss of blood. A flesh piece drops off her head, as the stoning process continues. Finally, death comes to this lady. She is then left there for a few more hours for the spectators to see, because this is a public lesson for all muslim females, who commit adultery. Then her father and relatives are allowed to dig her body, and bring it above ground. Pieces of her flesh, lying on the ground, is collected and because she has no face, it is put back on the front of her head, and bundled up. Now readers, imagine that is your mother, or your daughter, or sister, or even you, yourself. “

.


The sign in Gao says "Sharia is the route to happiness - to paradise". But the man on the right had is hand crudely cut off with a knife without any evidence being presented that he had stolen a mattress.

 

Yet the punishments set down for homosexual sodomy are designed to be even more cruel. If the partners are married men, they may be burned to death or thrown to their deaths from a height. If they are unmarried, the sodomized partner, unless he is a minor, is executed, the sodomizer lashed a hundred times. The variation in the penalty reflects the Muslim loathing of the idea of a man taking the feminine role of the penetrated partner. Lesbian sex, if the women are single, draws a hundred lashes. Married lesbians may be stoned. 'Why is Islam so severe in matters of adultery, homosexuality and lesbianism?' asks Mohammed Rizvi. 'If the Islamic system had not allowed gratification of sexual urge by lawful means without associating guilt with it, then it would be alright to say Islam is very severe. But since it has allowed fulfillment of sexual instincts by lawful means, it is not prepared to tolerate any introverted behavior'."

 

Geraldine Brooks [75] affirms the continuing severity of this code against women:

 

"For both Sunnis and Shiites, whatever license their faith allows comes walled around with ghastly penalties for sexual transgression. The limits on sexual freedom in Islam are drawn strictly around the marriage bed, be it temporary or permanent. Extramarital sex and homosexuality are prohibited, and both offenses can draw the most horrific punishments in the Islamic legal code. While the death penalty, in Islamic law, is optional for murder, it is mandatory for any convicted adulterer who could have satisfied his or her sexual urge lawfully with a spouse. The sentence is commuted to a hundred lashes if the adulterer is unmarried, or if the spouse was ill or far away when the adultery was committed. In Iran, stonings, or, as the Iranians prefer to translate the word, lapidations, are still carried out in cases of adultery. Saudi Arabia also specifies stoning as punishment for married adulterers".

 

Stoning has a history of being a trick Muhammad played on the Jews to exact a dire punishment for them, which then became a standard Islamic penalty:

 

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Umar: The Jews brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from among them who had committed illegal sexual intercourse. The Prophet said to them, "How do you usually punish the one amongst you who has committed illegal sexual intercourse?" They replied, "We blacken their faces with coal and beat them," He said, "Don't you find the order of Ar-Rajm (i.e. stoning to death) in the Torah?" They replied, "We do not find anything in it." 'Abdullah bin Salam (after hearing this conversation) said to them. "You have told a lie! Bring here the Torah and recite it if you are truthful." (So the Jews brought the Torah). And the religious teacher who was teaching it to them, put his hand over the Verse of Ar-Rajm and started reading what was written above and below the place hidden with his hand, but he did not read the Verse of Ar-Rajm. 'Abdullah bin Salam removed his (i.e. the teacher's) hand from the Verse of Ar-Rajm and said, "What is this?" So when the Jews saw that Verse, they said, "This is the Verse of Ar-Rajm." So the Prophet ordered the two adulterers to be stoned to death, and they were stoned to death near the place where biers used to be placed near the Mosque. I saw her companion (i.e. the adulterer) bowing over her so as to protect her from the stones.

 

Its basis is Hebrew law, which states:

 

"And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death" (Lev 20:10).

 

In Deuteronomic Law and in its inherited sequel in Islamic Law, the penalty for adultery is death by stoning, both for promiscuity before marriage and after it:

 

"But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: ... If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel" (Deut 22:20).

 

However there is no record of such barbaric punishments having been carried out under Jewish law for millennia.  The Talmud places so many restrictions that it is almost impossible to carry out and has never been a legal punishment in the state of Israel. Although Jewish stoning was meant to be instantaneous as possible, as manifest also in Jewish sources contemporary with and prior to early Christianity, particularly the Mishnah, doubts were growing in Jewish society about the morality of capital punishment in general and stoning in particular. For example, according to Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel (10 BC - 70 CE) in the time when the religious courts had authority over capital punishment, a court that executed more than 1 person in 70 years was a "bloody court".

 

Judaism and Christianity, because of their older roots, have had to come to terms of cultural maturity with their sacred texts, which even if some fundamentalists believe are the literal word of God, are still given metaphorical interpretation and not taken as the basis of two thousand year old laws and punishments in the age of enlightenment.

 

Nevertheless in Islam, stoning has continued to be a diabolical practice under Sharia laws for hadd, (hudud) offences to this day. Wikipedia’s entry on stoning [76] lists Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and United Arab Emirates as countries where stoning has either taken place judicially or extra-judicially or is a legitimate punishment.

 

As of August 2008 Iran has initiated a proposal to suspended death by stoning [77], however Iran is still planning to continue committing death sentences for adultery:

 

Iranians suspend death by stoning 5 August 2008 Iran has suspended the punishment of death by stoning, state media say. A judiciary spokesman said four people sentenced to die by stoning had had their sentences commuted and that all other cases had been put under review. Lawyers and human rights campaigners have said at least eight women and a man are awaiting the punishment. The country's penal code stipulates that before carrying out the punishment, men should be buried up to their waists and women up to their chests. The stones used must be large enough to cause the condemned pain, but not sufficient to kill immediately. Amnesty also said a disproportionate number of those sentenced to death by stoning were women because they were not treated equally before the law and were particularly vulnerable to unfair trials.

 

However the judge may just commute the sentence to another form of execution or whipping [78] and the spokesman for the Iranian judiciary, Alireza Jamshidi, said in a statement, "Don’t forget. One cannot remove the punishment of stoning from the law." The case of Kobra Najjar [79], a 44 year old woman who was convicted of adultery, but who some say was forced into prostitution by her husband, has received international attention. She has reportedly exhausted all legal recourse for her conviction, with a sentence of death by stoning.

6.     Ending Sequestering of Women

Muslim tradition contains further barriers to communication between women and unrelated men, for example by requiring a woman to have a family chaperone when traveling, or in public. These traditions are tribally based and based on the desire of male patriarchs to control as much as possible, who their daughters marry and reproduce with, and husbands to ensure their wives have no opportunity to meet and possibly have sex and thus reproduce with unrelated males, leading to morbid fears of paternity uncertainty.

 

The picture on the right was sent to Dr. Homa Darabi [80] from a woman in Iran. This picture was taken 20 days after she was lashed fifty times for being present at a family gathering where men other than her father and brother were present. Her crime? She is a single woman. It is forbidden for women to be present under the same roof with men other than their close relatives (father, brother and son) without proper hijab.

 

The attempt to control a woman’s access to unrelated males draws a curtain across the females’ capacity to find, test and secure a relationship with a man of her choice.  It leads to arranged marriages, threats to the honour of families when girls choose a partner not approved by her family, and hence honour killing. At the same time, veiling, particularly of the face and or eys, makes it more difficult for women to easily meet male partners of their choice. This further accentuates the sexual tension because, females are now perceived as uncontrollably attracting to men, who then take no responsibility for their own behaviour unless these restrictions are observed. This results in continuing attempts to minimize contact between the female members of the house and unrelated men through screening and sexually separated zenana areas. Laws, such as women not being allowed to drive cars in Saudi Arabia, are not based on their being of deficient mind, but on the basis that to allow women to drive would mean they could meet unrelated men.

 

Women who do not abide the decisions of their families, or clans, in terms of arranged marriages, or run foul of local mullahs over the status of their new marriage after an annulment can end up facing imprisonment or stoning.

 

Mother rots in Saudi jail as in-laws try to force divorce [81] February 19, 2007 Damman - Fatima al-Timani is near the end of her sixth month in prison in the Saudi town of Damman. Her only crime is to refuse to be separated from the man to whom she had been happily married for four years and with whom she has two children. Fatima is the latest victim of a growing practice of forced divorce, where relatives have used hardline Islamic courts to dissolve matches against the will of the married couple. The plight of 34-year-old Fatima, who was pregnant when court proceedings began in 2005 and is now in prison with her 1-year-old son, Suleiman, has drawn widespread public sympathy. She is forbidden to see her husband, Mansour al-Timani. He now looks after their 2-year-old son, Noha, who has been allowed only occasional visits to his mother. Fatima's relatives have accused Mansour of lying about his tribal background to the bride's father to win approval for the marriage and they want it annulled so she can have an arranged marriage to a spouse of their choosing.

 

The Stoning of Noorjehan [82]: A woman named Noorjehan Begum was, by most accounts, the daughter of a landless peasant - a twenty-one-year-old who, in January, 1993, after her first marriage was dissolved, married again. The local mullah, giving no reasons, declared that a second marriage was contrary to Islamic law. A few weeks later, just after dawn, she was led to an open field in a small village in the district of Sylhet a stronghold of the fundamentalists - where a pit had been dug overnight. She was lowered into the pit and buried waist deep. Then, slowly and methodically, she was stoned - a hundred and one times.

 

The fundamental problem with this is that women, as bearers of the live young, and the principal contributors to parenting, have to make the primary choices about who they form a family with and who they reproduce with, so that they can have the best genes to maintain and fulfill the generations of humanity.  Any social or religious system, which attacks this principle, is doing a disservice to humanity and to the entire universe.

 

The consequences are genetic weakness, and in the case where arranged marriages become frequent cousin marriages, serious increases in recessive genetic abnormalities.  The Islamic world can thus not exonerate itself from the conservative Muslim societies, which have genetic abnormality rates over 10 times higher than the general population. 

 

“In the UK a 2007 report found British Pakistanis were 13 times more likely to have children with recessive disorders than the general population [83]. "The issue we need to debate is first cousin marriages, whereby a lot of arranged marriages are with first cousins, and that produces lots of genetic problems in terms of disability [in children]." This problem originates mainly from rural Pakistan, but it raises a question about the veil and inhibiting women making their own choices about reproductive partner.”

 

Women able to make the choice of partners, when not subject to religious indoctrination and control, or bombarded with false images from the media, or hormonal contraceptives, which can can also mask this capacity [84], prove able to astutely pick both intelligent partners with good family resourcing prospects, and also through exotic pheromonal odours, partners who have complimentary immunity and few recessive genes in common. Left to their own choices, women are thus able to sire offspring who are capable, genetically sound, well-resourced, and have superior resistance to disease. Limiting the ways unmarried women can have access to unrelated men frustrates this natural benefit to our offspring. It is anti-life, wrong and damaging. No such religious tradition is, or could ever be, one that is ordained by God.

 

The extensive covering of restrictive Muslim women’s dress also results in rickets and bone malformation due to lack of adequate sunlight:

 

Rickets upsurge among UK Asians 5 February, 2001 [85], [86] An increase in the number of cases of the bone disease rickets may be partly due to strict Muslim dress codes, say doctors. The Asian community appears to be particularly vulnerable to the disease, which is caused by a lack of vitamin D. This is produced naturally by the body when strong light hits the skin. However, traditional Muslim female dress places emphasis on relatively little skin being exposed to sunlight. This can lead to a vitamin D deficiency in mothers which is then passed on to their children during and after pregnancy. The deficiency stops the bones developing properly, producing bow-legs and thickened wrists and ankles.

 

Another effect of the sequestering of women is compromises to their education, capacity to drive and to work and thus results in real losses for the societies concerned. This limits the strength of the societies in which they live and further distorts the relationship between men and women.

 

Women are less well represented in the workforce in conservative Muslim countries than anywhere else in the world.

 

Women find their capacities to live a creative life, develop businesses, enter the professions, to make a living and care for their families, particularly if their husband is ill, or out of work, or has passed away, and merely to discover the world, as well as their ability to move without restrictions, severely compromised, let alone their capacity to find a man who they can love and trust, who will bear them strong children and be a strength in resourcing the family.

 

This is also a tragedy for men because they become confined to a male domain where access to desirable females with whom they might fall in love and form a strong family are all filtered through the curtain and many men then never have adequate access to the humanizing effect of a woman’s presence.  Men’s attitudes to women and sex thus become further distorted, fed by fantasies such as the houris of heaven, and finding women, alien, dangerous, attractive and embarrassing, leading to a greater likelihood of fractured and distorted relationships between men and women when relationships do form, with consequent domestic violence and divorce.

 

The idea that the husband rules the family, rather than it being a product of mutual strengths and consensual decision-making further violates the cooperative basis of the family partnership between husband and wife, leading to a false dynamic of implicit violence, beating, appeasement and relationships based on domination and submission. While some of these problems can be common to many societies, none of these features are advantageous, helpful, or justifiable.

 

7.     Sexual Biology, Human Culture and Religious Oppression

 

For a complete account of this section, see “Sexual Paradox: Complementarity, Reproductive Conflict and Human Emergence” [87]. These arguments are strongly based on sexual biology, sociobiology and cross-species comparisons.  However they remain equally valid and true, whether you accept evolution, or believe God created the biota, since if God made all the species in a given way, this way must be respected as much as if they evolvend naturally.

 

Central to the phenomenon of sequestering is male paternity uncertainty, which, like it or not, is an intrinsic result of our mammalian biology.  Although men like to think they are ordained by God to be above the level of mere animals, (despite assigning women to a similar role to domestic beasts of burden), the driving force behind many aspects of male dominated religion, and the restrictive practices against women, stem from a deep, innate, and violent fear on the part of men, that the women they are associated with might have been impregnated (defiled, polluted) by a strange man.

 

These fears are by no means exclusive to the Muslim world.  Much of the Old Testament of the Judeo-Christian Bible is riddled with paranoid fantasies, and dire threats of violence, concerning the whoring and polluting of women.  Indeed the entire history of Israel, and her relationship with God almighty, is a tortured tale of the jealous God and the unfaithful, whoring bride Israel, who at various times turned away from Jehovah and worshipped the Gods of the nations. The same innate male retribution permeates Islam in terms of the dire penalties for the idolaters.

 

All of these fears, restrictions on women and violent penalties, such as stoning for adultery, arise because humans are mammals and give birth to live young. In all animals, it is the female who makes the greater investment in parenting, by virtue of having a small number of eggs, each of which takes a much larger resource from the female, by contrast with the male’s much smaller investment in millions of tiny sperm.

 

Mammals, because they give birth to live young, have a greater polarization between the sexes than any other animal group, and humans with their massive pregnancies and slow-growing offspring come even at an extreme of mammals.  Thus, although we like to think men and women are, in some sense, equal members in society, culture and intellectual prowess, they are reproductively in a state of partial strategic warfare, because their reproductive investments are about as different as they could possibly be.

 

The female faces a huge and potentially lethal investment in parenting, through a massive pregnancy, which leaves her vulnerable and encumbered, an often difficult, long and painful birth, which can pose risks of death to the mother and/or child through hemorrhage, breech birth, or other misfortune, followed by months of sleepless nights, breastfeeding and years of caring for infants, toddlers and young children, often with only a partial degree of help and resourcing from a husband or partner. 

 

The female’s investment in reproduction is thus primarily in parenting, and consequently females have to be choosy and careful about whom they are going to let fertilize themselves. They also have a need to find a male partner who can help resource their offspring, or seek the help of maternal relatives.

 

By contrast, males do not give birth to young of their own and rather than making a high investment in parenting, compensate by a higher investment in sexual fertilization, competing with one another to sow wild oats and get as many females pregnant as possible.  This gives rise to all the classic phenomena of the beasts of the field locking horns and competing for the favours of the females.

 

This process of reproductive competition between males for the sexual favours of females is the principal instrument of selection of genetic fitness in all mammals and is made even more effective by the XY sex-chromosome arrangement in mammals, in which the males have only one X and can thus display ‘genius’, if their X genes are unilaterally superior. By contrast, females are a chimera, just like a tortoise shell cat, as in all cells apart from those giving rise to their ova, one or other X collapses and becomes inactive to maintain the correct genetic balance for the body. Consequently men tend to have a higher variation in intelligence, from retarded to genius, while the overall intelligence of the two sexes is comparable. Some sexual biologists have even proposed that human intelligence has been accelerated by a runaway peacock’s tail effect, in which genes on the X chromosome have selected for astute sexual choices in females to choose ‘smart guys’ expressing the same X-linked intelligence genes.

 

The upshot for humanity is that, while we are a strongly pair-bonding species, that forms partnerships lasting at least the four to five years required for a human child to reach the age where they can fend for themselves if necessary, humans still depend on female reproductive choice to enrich the gene pool and keep us from gathering recessive mutations which weaken the human line and our survival capacity in future.

 

Since the dawn of history, despite male paternity uncertainty, and a consequent desire on the part of men to control female reproductive choice, often by violent means, there has been a continuing trend of males displaying their prowess in bringing home the meat from the hunt, in good archery, brave warriorship, good husbanding, and the capacity to play music, tell intriguing tales, and spin hilarious jokes, which women appreciate and find favour with, while themselves gathering most of the diet the family survives on while keeping track of social gossip through the grapevine.

 

Male intelligence, as well as physical power and beauty, are linked to genetic fitness, so females investing in intelligent, interesting healthy men are making a good double investment in men who can provide good resourcing as well as good genes. As noted, females are also able to detect by smell males with complementary immunity to themselves thus providing their children with enhanced resistance to disease. All these factos attest to the importance of female reproductive choice.

 

However, the female’s combined need for family resourcing and also good genes to complete her massive investment in pregnancy, frequently leads to a contradiction between finding a suitable resourcing partner and the best genes to support her massive and risky out-front investment.  Consequently females will sometimes seek a partner with adequate resourcing and to cover themselves against having to make 100% parenting investment in a single partner’s genes, have a clandestine affair with a man whose genes are evidently very good.

 

 The source of female sexual modesty lies in a woman’s need to preserve her sexual reputation so she can make clandestine strategic reproductive choices without male retalitation, not religious, or patriarchal demands on her fidelity. Furthermore the concealed nature of human ovulation, the fact that women have ecstatic orgasm, their highly male-attractive secondary sexual characteristics such as voluptuous breasts and buttocks, their neotonous child-like facial and features and their capacity to make love whether or not in a fertile state and thus form sensitive and enduring socio-sexual bonds of partnership, are all consistent with the power and adaptive importance female reproductive choice.

 

This pattern of outsiring occurs in humans at a similar rate to socially monogamous birds and mammals – around 10 to 15 percent of offspring. It is not a damnable act on the part of the female, but is an essential component of the human survival strategy and a direct consequence of the female’s great parenting investment.

 

However this is where the age-old fears of men about sexual pollution enter in as the Devil incarnate.  This is why women have been cursed by patriarchal religions and cultures, since the tale of Eden and Eve’s seducing Adam to eat the fruit ever met the light of day.

 

Above: Female sexual arousal is integeral to successful female reproductive choice. Below: Muslim ‘sunna’ female genital mutilation in Egypt reduces male fears about female sexual arousal leading to infidelity, by cutting out the clitoris and labia to reduce female sexual pleasure partially or completely.  Muhammad is said to have commented “Reduce but do not destroy” to appease the desires of husbands, resulting in female genital mutilation being called ‘sunna’ in Islam just as is the hijab.

 

Male reactions in our closely related primates are little different.  Male chimps for example will systematically kill off offspring of females they beilive are fathered by another male and commit violence against the females as well.  Females in turn are very careful and go off ‘on safari’ secretively with a male of their choice, thus thwarting the control of the male troop, which often consists of related males. Their sisters among the closely related bonobo go even further than this, and form strong co-sexual female coalitions, which strategically offset male dominance.

 

Males of course always like to have their cake and eat it too, so the male strategy is to resource as many females as possible at the same time as running off and sowing wild oats with as many females as they can seduce to mate with them.  Some men with superior resources will form polygynous harems, others with fewer resources will stick faithfully to the wife they have got, or divorce and start a second family with another wife (effective polygyny), while others still will wander from place to place endeavouring to seduce married or unmarried women into getting pregnant while loving them and leaving them.

 

Now what has happened in patriarchal societies is that men have formed coalitions and set up systems of rules to basically put the blame on the female for her rightful reproductive investment strategy, instituting strict systems of marriage and possession by a husband of exclusive rights to their wife or wives, ring-fenced by dire penalties for transgression such as stoning for adultery, which while it nominally applies to men and women alike, generally penalizes women because they have lost the tokens of virginity, because they didn’t cry out, or because family honour is shamed.

 

At the same time, particularly, and somewhat uniquely, in conservative Muslim societies, although similar patterns happen in other highly patriarchal societies such as the Dogon [88] and violent warrior societies such as the Yanomamo [89], who forcibly abduct up to 25% of their wives, and to a lesser extent with the modesty customs of Ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews [90], [91], [92], comprehensive social restrictions and controls are placed on female reproductive choice and the ability of women to move about freely, to meet unrelated males naturally, to choose who they marry or form partnerships with, to be able to show their face to unrelated men, to drive cars, or to be able to travel without a relative as a chaperone.

 

Ending Female genital mutilation:

In some societies all the sensitive sexual parts of a woman including the clitoris and labia are cut off so that the women will not feel independent sexual desire and can be controlled as completely as possible by the husband. This even goes to stitching up the woman’s genitalia in infibulation so she has to be stabbed in the vagina by her husband to open a passage to get her pregnant.

 

FGM is an extreme form of purdah, in which female sexuality itself is cut off, in a direct attempt to extinguish sexual interest and thereby female sexual and reproductive choice.  This is diabolical and unacceptable. Although these practices are not ordained by Islam, and extend to African societies, and a few Christian minorities in dominant Muslim cultures, Muslim tolerance of the practice, its widespread occurrence in Muslim societies (e.g. up to 75% of Egyptian women), its reference to as the ‘sunna’, Muhammad’s reputed bargain struck with female genital mutilation - “Reduce but do not destroy” on the basis it was favoured by their husbands, and the confluence of this form of restriction of female sexuality with the other manifold forms of female restriction clearly practiced in conservative Muslim societies, means that Islam can not exonerate itself from blame for the continuing violation, disfigurement and sexual disablement of millions of women.

 

'“Why is female circumcision still practiced in the Arab world?

Why? Because there is no education, no awareness.” - Ghada Jamshir

 

This is a tragedy also for men because it is one of the lonliest experiences a man can have to spend his life having sex with a woman who can’t enjoy it and equally miserably and a health risk for the female. Male sexual fulfillment can come only with an ecstatic and joyful female partner and not from a sequestered, sexually disabled, fearful, frigid or oppressed partner.

 

The cursing of the decadent liberation of the West is not an assault on pornography or prostitution which has always been a feature of both Muslim and Western societies, but the very freedom of choice women do enjoy in the West, not as whores or sex objects but as females able to express their beauty and attractiveness and to make sexual and reproductive choices which violate the male control exerted for reasons of male fear in conservative Muslim countries under the pretence that this is all ordained by God.

 

Red Light under a Thin Veil - Temporary Marriage Dubai The Observer 1998 [93] - Behind the anonymous white walls of a handsome villa in North Tehran, business is booming for the best-known madams of pre- revolutionary Iran' Their legendary hospitality are queues of bearded mullahs who have been told that Belinda, and Chikma are now officially authorised to dispense their sexual favours. Under the strict morality coddes of Iran's ayatollahs, these three. women and thousands of others like them should be whipped or even to stoned to death. Indeed, when Khomeini overthrew the Shah and established his Islamic regime, revolutionary guuards targeted prostitutes and demolished the red-light district of Tehran. But it is a measure of the changing standards of Shi'ite rule that prostitution has once again become legitimate. Prostitutes may function as they invoke the "law of desire" and enter into marriages of enjoyment. These are marriages in name only, not least because men have the right to deny their responsibdities for any children born of the temporary liaison. This controversial law allows men to fornicate, so long as they register their intentions with a religious Sharia, court where they fill out a form specifying how long they intend to "enjoy' their partner. In many cases the two sides agree on a 10-minute quickie in which they are able to satisfy each other and still keep within the law. "The enoyment marriage is nothing but a legal cover for prostitution,' says Dr Mahran Keys Doltchahi, a professor at Iran's Free University. "How can anyone in the world claim that a marriage for 10 minutes is a legal act?

 

As noted in the next section, these claims against women have also been made in Jewish and Christian cultures as well through much of their history. There is a clear trend in the book of Genesis for a matriarchal tradition typified by Laban, in which maternal uncles brought up their sisters offspring and the patriarchal tradition of Jacob and the later Israelites amid passages attesting to continuing violence against women who deviated to the matriarchal custom. However, with the exceptions of ultra-orthodox sects, Jewish and Chrstian traditions have moved on to learn to respect the rights of choice women make.

 

There is no justification in biology or in terms of the health and survival of human society, nor in terms of our intelligence, nor in terms of social cohesion, peace or the fulfillment of love for any of these practices to continue. They are not ordained by God, but rather form a diabolical manifestation of male jealousy and desire to control the female, which are detrimental to men, women, society, religion and nature.

8.     Parallels with and Differences: Islamic, Christian and Other Forms of Patriarchal Oppression

 

These kinds of patriarchal agenda not only permeate Islam, but Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and capitalist social institutions and thinking as well.  However there are siginificant differences between the Mulsim attitude to women and sexuality from the Christian view.  Fatima Mernisi [94] points out that it is not presumed inferiority, which is the hallmark of Islamic attitudes to women, but fear [95]:

 

In Christianity and Western society generally, women have been seen as inferior. On the contrary, Islam recognizes that women are powerful and sexual beings. Thus the actual social inequality which women experience does not stem from inferiority, but rather fear. Sexuality must be controlled, and the easiest way to do that (so they claim) is to control female sexuality, because it represents a threat to the order and stability of the ummah, or community of believers. Today the entire program of women’s rights and equality is associated intimately with westernization and modernization. Defending the traditional place of women is the same as defending Islam against the godless and immoral West. The question of the place of women cannot be separated from the question of modernization and the fundamentalist response to it.

 

Mernissi also offers a religious argument for why women have experienced so much social inequality, even while theoretically they are not supposed to be inferior. According to her, it is not simply women who are feared, but heterosexual relationships themselves. True, sexuality is not seen as being as evil in Islam as it is in Christianity. Nevertheless, a heterosexual unit in which a deep love can grow may distract the man from his primary obligation: worshipping Allah.

 

Mernissi argues that Islam incorporates three things which serve to limit the intimacy of a man and a wife.

 

The first is polygamy: by ensuring that the man can obtain sexual satisfaction from more than one person, emotional and psychological intimacy with one person is prevented from growing strong. This is further ensured by rules which mandate that he not favor any one wife and move from one to the next regularly (this has the added benefit of ensuring that she does not seek sexual satisfaction elsewhere).

 

The second method is “repudiation.” Through this, a man may divorce his wife at any time if he wishes, and she can’t do anything about it. She, however, is not granted the same right. This once again ensures that he can find sexual satisfaction without necessarily having to invest time and effort in emotional intimacy.

 

The third method is the involvement of the mother-in-law. When a woman marries, she “belongs” to her husband’s family, and quite often the mother-in-law lives with the couple. There is little opportunity for intimacy. 

 

And why are women feared? Although sex itself might not be inherently sinful, uncontrolled sexuality is regarded as destabilizing to the community — and female sexuality is regarded as the most dangerous. The Arabic word fitna means disorder or chaos, but it can also refer to a beautiful woman, thus demonstrating a link between women and instability.

 

In this sense, although Islam accepts female sexuality, like the Christian disavowal of Eve for eating the forbidden fruit, female sexuality and beauty is feared as fitna or chaos, so that same fear, which has branded sexuality as intrinsically carnal evil and the work of the devil in Christian terms, is likewise tightly controlled, with an indelible implicit acknowledgement that this lies in the shadow of a time of greater freedom for women and female reproductive choice among Arab women before the onset of Islam.

 

Looking back to Christian origins, we can see an overthrow of the women and the female contribution to the birth of Christianity, beginning with Pentecost in Acts, after which the women were assigned to ablivion by Peter and following him, the chrusch fathers, from Paul on down.

 

In the gospels, Jesus was anointed by a woman and cared for in his hours of tribulation by the women of Galilee when the male disciples deserted him like lost sheep, and it was Mary Magdalen of whom who Jesus said: “Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her” (Matt 26:13).

 

Nevertheless, the early Church fathers continued the line from Genesis that woman was the cause of the Fall by seducing Adam to eat the fruit, henceforth to be subject to the rule of their husbands:

 

“I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen 3).

 

Despite Jesus not having made any statement that women were to be shamed or subdued, the church fathers, in repressing the early Gnostic traditions, which included women and may have been descended from Mary, Martha and Salome, set about disseminating the ruling that women were to live in shame subject to men, from Paul’s and Timothy’s commands, to Tertullian’s “the devil’s gateway” to Augustine’s ‘original sin’ claimed to have tainted Adam through Eve’s concupicence on the basis of Augustine’s own unruly ‘demon rod’ that would not lie down, thus making a mockery of free-will in the eyes of God.

 

New Yorker cover illustrates differences between Muslim, Western, and Christian forms of ‘veiling’. Muslim veiling is to avoid women showing their feminine bodies and particularly their faces lest men find them too attractive sexually or in sheer beauty, to control themselves.  In conservative Muslim societies all women are expected to dress more restrictively than Christian nuns, who have taken a vow of celibacy do, in devoting their lives to God.  The woman wearing a bikini and shades is expressing a Western moral code, in which, as long as a woman covers her breasts and pubic area, she is allowed to be attractive and men are expected to respect her autonomy, however she may choose to gain a degree of privacy by ‘hiding’ behind her sunglasses. The critical difference is that the latter two are, first and foremost, choices of the individual.  Although some Muslim women choose to wear the niqab, or burqa, the fact they are deemed desirable, or obligatory, by religious scholars inevitably results in a significant degree of oppression.

 

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:34)

 

“I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent with all subjection; for Adam was first formed then Eve. Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Timothy 2:11)

 

Unlike the hadith, which are not part of the Qur’an proper, these passages have the dubious authenticity of having been incorporated into the New Testament of the Christian Bible.

 

St. Jerome, in his Letter 130.18 (to the virgin Demetrias), even thought, like Sheikh Habadan, that it was too provocative for a woman to show both eyes. Only a single eye should be exposed:

 

“Let that one be beautiful in your regard, let that one be lovable, let that one be admitted among your companions who does not know that she is beautiful, who is heedless of her good looks, who when she goes out in public does not expose her breast and neck, who does not unfold her cloak and reveal the nape of her neck, but who instead conceals her face and walks with scarcely one eye showing, to find her way”.

 

Joan of Arc is burned at the stake. Marguerite Porete likewise was burned for her visionary religious text “Mirror of the Simple Souls”

 

Sexist attitudes in Christianity led to diabolical practices, culminating in the Inquisition, which followed the Crusades, in which up to four million women are believed to have lost their lives, many accused of being witches and burned at the stake or drowned.

 

Although Catholicism still has only celibate male priests, although in other churches, and a few Catholic congregations, women are now as able to hold positions of authority, this attitude of repressing and shaming women has, since the Renaissance, led to Western cultures largely abandoning these highly sexist attitudes promulgated by the early church fathers. The combined effects of the scientific revolution, the rise of Western democracies and women’s suffrage, and the needs of women to play a full part in medicine, business and commerce, have led to these outmoded practices of female repression being recognized as unacceptable.

9.     Abrogating Hadith on Veiling

 

Whether or not you believe that the Qur’an is revealed text of al-Llah, it is clear that a distinction has to be drawn between the authority of the Qur’an and Hadith, which form a mixed set of commentaries, whose validity and significance remain open to debate, and to the refutation that they are not the work of the prophet, but apocryphal accounts of the opinions of others, who have been responsible for much of the male-oriented imposition of restraints and dire penalties imposed on women, not because it is the word of God, but based on their own chauvinistic cultural agendas.

 

In this religious opinion all hadith, laws under Sharia, and fatwas claiming the face or eyes of a woman must be covered is abrogated by the following ruling: 

 

In the Islamic tradition, the hijab cannot on the basis of scripture, or anecdotal hadith, be deemed to extend to fahd (compulsory), or even mustahaab (desirable), covering of the face or eyes, or obscuring the vision, or the vision of one eye. It is wrong, and not the will of God, that the very beauty of a woman’s face should not be able to be seen, or that the woman should be not properly able to see in the world, because her face and physical beauty is attractive to men. A woman needs two eyes to avoid being taken by surprise, and harmed by accident, exploitation, or misfortune.  The hijab is not ordained by God, but is simply a custom of feminine modesty. The hijab is not obligatory, but a matter of a woman’s own choice, depending on her desire for modesty and haya (shyness), in the way she chooses to live her life and practice her religion. No man can rightly tell a woman how to practice her religion.

 

Here we use “Truth Regarding Niqab” [96] in its entirety, as a catalogue of ‘Salafist’ opinions and “Examining the Dalils for Niqab” [97] as a commentary, along with our own - to “make clear to you part of what you differ in”.

 

A: Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith # 282

Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba (Radhiallaahu Ánha)  "Aa'ishah (Radhiallaahu Ánha) used to say: "When (the Verse): "They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms," was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.

 

Here it is claimed that women themselves made the decision to cover their faces. This is a typical attribution of the responsibility for oppression of women to women themselves.  Like the Yahwist’s use of the prophetess Huldah in the time of Josiah (2 Kings 22:8), when the apocryphal text of Deuteronomy claimed to have been discovered in the Temple, resulting in the overthrow of the feminine aspects of worship, the burning of the Asherah and establishment of stoning women for adultery, or for not possessing the tokens of virginity, and not crying out when raped.

 

B: Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Hadith # 368

Narrated 'Aa'ishah (Radhiallaahu Ánha) Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) used to offer the Fajr prayer and some believing women covered with their veiling sheets used to attend the Fajr prayer with him and then they would return to their homes unrecognized.  Shaikh Ibn Uthaimin in tafseer of this hadeeth explains "This hadeeth makes it clear that the Islamic dress is concealing of the entire body as explained in this hadeeth.  Only with the complete cover including the face and hands can a woman not be recognized.  This was the understanding and practice of the SAHÂBAH and they were the best of group, the noblest in the sight of Allaah (swt) with the most complete Eemaan and noblest of characters.  so if the practice of the women of the sahabah was to wear the complete veil then how can we deviate from their path? (Ibn Uthaymeen in the book "Hijaab" page # 12 and 13).

 

The commentary debases the meaning of the hadith. Returning to their homes unrecognized does not necessarily refer to their faces being covered because the niqab is for outside the home, rather they may have been unrecognized because they were in an exalted state of meditation.

 

 

Love in bondage: Women in Niqab shopping for Valentine cards. “Saudi Arabia has asked florists and gift shops to remove all red items until after Valentine’s Day, calling the celebration of such a holiday a sin, local media reported Monday. “As Muslims we shouldn’t celebrate a non-Muslim celebration, especially this one that encourages immoral relations between unmarried men and women, ” Sheikh Khaled Al-Dossari, a scholar in Islamic studies, told the Saudi Gazette, an English-language newspaper. Every year, officials with the conservative Muslim kingdom’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice clamp down on shops a few days before February 14, instructing them to remove red roses, red wrapping paper, gift boxes and teddy bears. On the eve of the holiday, they raid stores and seize symbols of love.”

 

C: Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Hadith # 148

Narrated 'Aa'ishah (Radhiallaahu Ánha): The wives of Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) used to go to Al-Manasi, a vast open place (near Baqia at Medina) to answer the call of nature at night. 'Umar used to say to the Prophet "Let your wives be veiled," but Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) did not do so. One night Sauda bint Zam'a the wife of the Prophet went out at 'Isha' time and she was a tall lady. 'Umar addressed her and said, "I have recognized you, O Sauda." He said so, as he desired eagerly that the verses of Al-Hijab (the observing of veils by the Muslim women) may be revealed. So Allaah revealed the verses of "Al-Hijab" (A complete body cover excluding the eyes).

 

This is the classic hadith previously discussed in which simple propriety when going to the toilet and Umar’s overweaning concerns led to the sure. These are no grounds for the niqab becoming a divine law under Sharia. Hijab is mysteriously finessed in the commentary to become niqab.

 

D: Tirmidhi with a SAHIH chain reports...

"Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid quotes this hadeeth narrated by Tirmidhi with a sahih isnaad and says this is a direct hadeeth from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam ) and has made it clear that a woman must cover everything including the face and hands!)

 

This is the classic hadith in which the whole woman is regarded as awrah, or pudenda – ‘shameful’ sexual private parts.  It is debasing a woman’s natural beauty to bring shame on her attractiveness in this way and passes all responsibility for good behaviour on the part of men by blaming the woman.

 

Dalils explains the contradictions in the concept of awra in detail in attempting to draw a distinction between soft (face and hands - beauty) and hard (neck to knees – sexual body):

 

“The issue of the awra is in fact quite complicated. A woman has two kinds of awra. The first, which is sometimes called the "hard awra", is from the upper chest to the knee or below. This cannot be seen by anybody but her husband. The second kind of awra is sometimes called the "soft awra", and it is everything that cannot be seen by non-mahram men. Obviously, the Tirmidhi hadith cannot be talking about the hard awra, or it would mean that a woman would have to wear niqab even around her brothers and father because they cannot see her hard awra. Instead, the hadith must be taken to mean that the woman is "soft awra". It is interesting to see what some notable scholars have said about the extent of the soft awra. Imam ibn Qudama, who wrote the definitive book of Hanbali fiqh, the Mughni, said that, "the face and hands constitute a specific exemption to the general meaning of this hadith". Imam Tabari, who wrote a great tafsir of the Quran, said, "The strongest and most accurate view is that which says the exemption [in 24:31 for "what is apparent thereof"] refers to the face and the hands up to the wrist. Also included are kohl, rings, bracelets, and makeup. We say that this is the strongest and most accurate opinion because all scholars are unanimous that everyone who needs to pray must cover the awra in his or her prayer. A woman may reveal the face and the hands in her prayer, while she must cover the rest of her body. What is not awra is not haram to be revealed". Fakhr ad-Din Razi, who also wrote a great tafsir of the Quran, said, "Since the showing of the face and hands is necessary, the jurists had no choice but to agree that they are not awra". Here we have three great scholars saying that the face and the hands are not awra and that they consitute "a specific exemption to the general meaning of this hadith".

Running contrary to this we shall find below hadiths that specifically point to the ‘soft awra’ as the potentially most dangerous, because it is in the face and eyes that a woman conveys her greatest attractiveness and beauty and hence compulsive desirability to a man. Therefore the distinction made between soft and hard awra is a misleading finesse on the part of the jurists, as it concedes while denying, in going ahead regardless to claim the face and hands, should, or must, also be covered in public.

 

 

E: Abu Dawood Book 14, Hadith # 2482

Narrated Thabit ibn Qays (Radhiallaahu Ánhu): A woman called Umm Khallad came to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) while she was veiled. She was searching for her son who had been killed (in the battle) Some of the Companions of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said to her: You have come here asking for your son while veiling your face? She said: If I am afflicted with the loss of my son, I shall not suffer the loss of my modesty.  Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: You will get the reward of two martyrs for your son. She asked: Why is that so, oh Prophet of Allaah? He replied: Because the people of the Book have killed him.

 

Why would a woman need to veil her face before the Prophet, who is impeccable beyond non-mahram men? If she chose to be modest for whatever reason, does this mean it was obligatory?

 

Dalils concedes this point:

 

“This hadith does indeed show Umm Khallad (rAa) wearing niqab, but it is interesting that the Sahaba (rAa) marveled at her doing so. Would they have been marveling if she just did what was commanded for her? More generally, we can say that this hadith proves that women did wear niqab, but they may have been doing so because it is mustahabb, so there needs to be some other evidence to make it fard.”

 

File written by Adobe Photoshop® 5.0F: Abu Dawood Book 32, Hadith # 4090

Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Ánha): When the verse "That they should cast their outer garments over their persons" was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads by wearing outer garments.

 

This passage could mean just about any form of hijab and does not imply niqab, or burqa.

 

Dalils concurs:

 

“In this hadith the women came out in their new jilbabs. The description "like they had crows on their heads" does not necessarily mean that their faces were covered. All it sounds like is that their heads were covered. This is another opinion (in addition to the ones listed under Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 above) that the jilbab does not necessarily have to cover the face.”

 

G: Abu Dawood Book 32, Hadith # 4091

Narrated Aa'ishah, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Ánha)  "May Allah have mercy on the early immigrant women. When the verse "That they should draw their veils over their bosoms" was revealed, they tore their thick outer garments and made veils from them.  Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalanee, who is known as Ameer Al-Mu'mineen in the field of Hadeeth, said that the phrase, "covered themselves", in the above Hadeeth means that they "covered their faces". [Fath Al-Bari].

 

Once again the commentary exceeds the content of the hadiths and represents simply a conservative opinion open to contradiction.

 

Dalils concurs:

 

“This is the same as the hadith in part A above, except that the translator has rendered the Arabic more accurately as "made veils". As stated above, the text of this hadith does not mention anything about covering the face. Ibn Hajar had to read this in to make it say that.”

 

H: Imaam Malik's MUWATTA Book 20 Hadith # 20.5.16

Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa that Fatima bint al-Mundhir (Radhiallaahu Ánha) said, "We used to veil our faces when we were in Ihram in the company of Asma bint Abi Bakr As-Siddiq (Radhiallaahu Ánha). "This again proves that not only the wives of Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) wore the Niqaab and that even though in Ihram women are not supposed to wear Niqaab but if men are there they still have to cover the face.

 

Malik is revered as a star of the Imams but the reliance on traditions of the first three generations from Muhammad is a Salafist position that does not hold true for Islam as a whole. For example from a Salafist position we have the statement: “Shiaism (The Rafidah) and Islam are indeed different religions. This sect has developed into what we now know as the Shia whose beliefs and thoughts are repugnant beyond belief.”

 

Dalils comments again that this indicates niqab is not fard (obligatory):

 

“The issue of niqab and ihram is in fact one of the big controversies, and a problem for those who say that niqab is fard. It is very clear that the Prophet (sAas) said that a woman in ihram must not wear either a niqab or gloves. Nobody has ever given a convincing explanation of why in the world the Prophet (sAas) said this in the first place if it were fard to cover the face. This is especially true because the obligatory duties of the hajj must be done in public, and in general there are very large crowds around. If a woman is supposed to cover her face anyway around non-mahram men, she really has to cover it at all times on the hajj and that is just the same as wearing niqab. Instead, the Prophet (sAas) has clearly commanded that a woman should have an uncovered face in public while in ihram; that's the only thing that makes sense. As for Asma (rAa), it appears that she followed the course of Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa), which is discussed in the next hadith. That she did so does not prove that doing so is fard, merely that it is halal.”

 

I: Abu Dawood Book 10, Hadith # 1829

Narrated Aa'ishah, Ummul Mu'minin:  (Radhiallaahu Ánha) who said, "The riders would pass us while we were with the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam).  When they got close to us, we would draw our outer cloak from our heads over our faces.  When they passed by, we would uncover our faces.  Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah, Narrated 'Aa'ishah. [In his work Jilbab al-Marah al-Muslimah, al-Albani states (p. 108) that it is hasan due to corroborating evidence.  Also, in a narration from Asma {who was not the wife of Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam)}, Asma also covered her face at all times in front of men.]  Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen in his tafseer of this hadeeth explains "This hadeeth indicates the compulsion of the concealing of the faces as an order of Sharee'ah, because during the Ihram it is "wajib" (compulsory) NOT to wear the Niqaab.  So if it was only mustahab (recommended) to cover the face then Aa'ishah and Asma (Radhiallaahu Ánha) would have taken the wajib over the mustahab.  It is well known by the Ulama that a wajib can only be left because of something that is also wajib or fardh.  So Aa'ishah and Asma (Radhiallaahu Ánha) covering the face even in Ihram in the presence of strange (ghair Mahraam) men shows that they understood this to be an act that was wajib or fardh or they would not have covered the face in Ihraam."

 

We are now moving further into traditions imposed by Salafist Muslims well after the time of Muhammad, which cannot be claimed to be the commands of God.

 

Dalils comments also that this does not imply niqab is fard (obligatory):

 

“When it comes to Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) it is fard for them to wear niqab (from Surah al-Ahzab ayah 53). Thus when presented with the Prophet's (sAas) command for bare faces, they found the best compromise solution they could, which was to cover their faces only when non-mahram men were around, and then to uncover them again when the men went away. It is one thing for the Prophet (sAas) to ask nine women (i.e., his wives) to do this, another thing for him to demand that all women at all times through history must do so. Why not just keep silent and let the women wear their niqabs? Also note that the author claims that the women disobeyed the command of the Prophet (sAas) in order to obey the Quran - since when would the Prophet (sAas) be giving a command that contradicts the Quran? It is strange how this glaring contradiction escapes those who want to argue that niqab is fard. If the Prophet (sAas) told women to unveil their faces in public, clearly this is a halal action, period.”

 

J: Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 72, Hadith # 715

Narrated 'Ikrima (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) narrates "Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'Abdur Rahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aa'ishah said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil." It is a very long hadeeth but the point is the women of Sahaba wore the full veil.

 

Many cultures use a veil during a marriage ceremony. Unveiling the bride is central to the act of marriage. The veil does not necessarily cover the face. Using this in justification of niqab undermines the credibility of the entire discussion.

 

Dalils reinforces this point well:

 

“The wife of Rifa'a was wearing a green khimar. This hadith merely shows a woman obeying the command in Surah an-Nur ayah 31 to wear a khimar, it does not say anything in itself to indicate that the khimar must cover the face. It is interesting to look at the full text of this hadith. After having described the wife of Rifa'a as wearing a green khimar, Aisha (rAa) says to the Prophet (sAas) "Look! Her skin is as green as her clothes". If the woman were wearing "the full veil" how could any of her skin be visible for the Prophet (sAas) to look at? In any case, at most her face or her hands could be showing. It seems most likely that it was her face that was green. If this is true, then the khimar definitely does not cover the face.”

 

K: Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Hadith # 347

Narrated Um 'Atiya (Radhiallaahu Ánha) We were ordered (by Rasulullaah '(Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) to bring out our menstruating women and veiled women in the religious gatherings and invocation of Muslims on the two 'Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from their Musalla. A woman asked, "O Allaah's Apostle ' What about one who does not have a veil (the veil is the complete cover with only one eye or two eyes showing)?" He said, "Let her share the veil of her companion." Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen in tafseer of this hadeeth explained "This hadeeth proves that the general norm amongst the women of the Sahaba (Radhiallaahu Ánhuma) was that no woman would go out of her home without a cloak, fully concealed and if she did not posses a veil, then it was not possible for her to go out.  it was for this reason that when Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) ordered them to go to the Place for Eid Salah, they mentioned this hindrance.  As a result Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said that someone should lend her a veil, but did not say they could go out without it.  If Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) did not allow women to go to a place like the Eid Salah, which has been ordered by Sharee'ah for women and men alike, then how can people let women to out to market places and shopping centers without where there is open intermingling of the sexes, without a veil.  (by Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen in the book "Hijaab" page # 11)

 

Again here we are now talking cultural tradition, not the law of God.

 

Dalils makes a quizzical contradictory comment about women’s attitudes, but confirms the jibab does not necessarily cover the face:

 

“This hadith concerns the wearing of the jilbab. The author of the article has stated correctly that the hadith proves that wearing the jilbab is indeed fard (which for some reason many sisters deny; see Evidences for Jilbab for more proof it is fard) but it does not in fact describe anywhere in it whether or not the jilbab is to cover the face. This is the same point made previously about the khimar and I have already said that there are some opinions that the jilbab does not necessarily have to cover the face.”

 

L: Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Hadith # 572

In the end of this very long hadeeth it quotes Anas (Radhiallaahu Ánho) relates from Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) "and if one of the women of Paradise looked at the earth, she would fill the whole space between them (the earth and the heaven) with light, and would fill whatever is in between them, with perfume, and the veil of her face is better than the whole world and whatever is in it." This show that even the women of Jannah have veils and the word veil is what covers the face (niqaab).

 

This passage raises further major issues about sex in heaven. If a woman needs to veil in heaven, does this mean a woman’s beauty and especially the beauty in her face can neither be witnessed in Earth, nor Heaven? The idea that God has ordained that women in Heaven, even if their faces are so bright they fill the entire abyss between with light and perfume, to be obscured by a veil that is more wonderful than the whole world doesn’t explain why she would need to veil herself, since she cannot be found guilty of any carnal sin in Heaven. Neither can anyone still on Earth do her harm. If it is simply because she is more beautiful than the Earth itself, then all reasons to conceal this miracle evaporate.

 

Dalils concurs:

 

“Here the women of Jannah (i.e., the houris) are wearing niqabs. I really have no idea why this is included as a dalil. That the houris wear niqab does not say anything about whether it is fard for human women to do so, although it does indicate that niqab is mustahabb and characteristic of the best of women. Note that one does not usually imagine the houris as niqabis!”

 

M: Abu Dawood Book 33, Hadith # 4154, Agreed upon by Nasai:  Aa'ishah (Radhiallaahu Ánha) narrates that on one occasion a female Muslim wanted to give a letter to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam), the letter was delivered to the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) from behind a curtain.

 

Anecdotal. As with the Qur’an passage, the ‘curtain’ might be one in the room and not covering the woman’s face.

 

Dalils introduces some fascinating elaborations:

 

“It is very interesting to look up the complete text of this hadith, which can be found here. In the last part of it, the Prophet (sAas) commands the woman to wear henna on her hands in order to distinguish them from men's hands. I wonder why this part of the hadith has not been quoted! It seems to be clear proof that women can display their hands in public. In any case, the hadith merely shows that it is halal for all women to use the screen, not that it is fard.”

 

 

Note: Quoted in the famous book Mishkaat. Here the Mufasereen of hadeeth have explained that the hadeeth where women came up to Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) face to face were before the ayah "And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts." (Surah Al­Ahzâb ayah # 53)  And this hadith proves this order is for the whole Ummah not just for the wives of Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam)!

 

The two curtains are different. The one in the Qur’an is between the Prophet’s wives and other men.  The one in the hadith is between another woman and the Prophet himself.  No one would suggest that the Prophet was screened from his own wives and indeed Islam does not teach that a woman is to hide her awrah from her husband or vice versa, therefore the claim in Mishkaat is misleading.

 

N: Abu Dawood Book 2, Hadith # 0641

Narrated Aa'ishah, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Ánha) "Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said "Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a veil."

 

An anecdotal claim not in the Qur’an and it does not say the veil should cover the face. It is a tautology of “God ordained the veil”. If the latter is true then God might not heed our prayers. Restated “God does not heed our prayers if we don’t wear the veil”. There is no need for a woman to be veiled in the sight of God. The idea that God needs to be separated from any woman by a niqab debases God. This is a way the hadith are used to claim that despite the Qur’an not saying so, God has specifically ordained a woman’s face must be covered.

 

Dalils unravels this one well:

 

“Here women are commanded to wear a khimar for salat, even when alone. Now it gets interesting. The scholars are unanimous that a woman in private salat may uncover her face and her hands (this has been stated above by Imam Tabari). The khimar must in fact be a headscarf and not a niqab. Because if the khimar was a niqab, and the Prophet (sAas) has commanded women to wear khimars in salat, then they would of necessity be covering their faces in salat, but they do not do so. And if the khimar is only a headscarf, then we can go back to the hadith mentioned above (A and G) and say that when Surah an-Nur ayah 31 was revealed the women tore their sheets and made headscarves not niqabs out of the cut pieces. The wife of Rifa'a was wearing a green headscarf, not "the full veil", which makes it clear why her face was visible (see hadith J above).”

 

O: Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Hadith # 293

Narrated 'Aa'ishah (Radhiallaahu Ánha) Utba bin Abi Waqqas said to his brother Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, "The son of the slave girl of Zam'a is from me, so take him into your custody." So in the year of Conquest of Mecca, Sa'd took him and said. (This is) my brother's son whom my brother has asked me to take into my custody." 'Abd bin Zam'a got up before him and said, (He is) my brother and the son of the slave girl of my father, and was born on my father's bed." So they both submitted their case before Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam). Sa'd said, "O Allaah's Apostle! This boy is the son of my brother and he entrusted him to me." 'Abd bin Zam'a said, "This boy is my brother and the son of the slave girl of my father, and was born on the bed of my father." Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, "The boy is for you, O 'Abd bin Zam'a!" Then Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) further said, "The child is for the owner of the bed, and the stone is for the adulterer," Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) then said to Sauda bint Zam'a, "Veil (screen) yourself before him," when he saw the child's resemblance to 'Utba. The boy did not see her again till he met Allaah. 

 

Note: This hadith proves Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) did infact order the veil to be observed.

 

Dalils rightly notes this applies again only to the wives of the Prophet:

 

“Sawda bint Zam'a (rAa) is one of the wives of the Prophet (sAas)! That the Prophet (sAas) commanded her to use the screen only confirms that Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) did so in obedience to Surah al-Ahzab ayah 53. This hadith does not say anything about ordinary Muslim women.”

 

P: Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 65, Hadith # 375

Narrated Anas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) I know (about) the Hijab (the order of veiling of women) more than anybody else. Ubai bin Ka'b used to ask me about it. Allaah's Apostle became the bridegroom of Zainab bint Jahsh whom he married at Medina. After the sun had risen high in the sky, the Prophet invited the people to a meal. Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) remained sitting and some people remained sitting with him after the other guests had left. Then Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) got up and went away, and I too, followed him till he reached the door of 'Aa'ishah's room. Then he thought that the people must have left the place by then, so he returned and I also returned with him. Behold, the people were still sitting at their places. So he went back again for the second time, and I went along with him too. When we reached the door of 'Aa'ishah's room, he returned and I also returned with him to see that the people had left. Thereupon Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) hung a curtain between me and him and the Verse regarding the order for (veiling of women) Hijab was revealed.

 

Dalils again notes this applies only to the Prophet’s wives:

 

“This is also about Surah al-Ahzab ayah 53. The story is also told in Bukhari Book 60 #315, in which the specific ayah of the Quran Surah al-Ahzab ayah 53 is quoted in the text of the hadith. This ayah applies only to Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa). The phrase "veiling order for women" does not appear in the Arabic text.”

 

Q: Abu Dawood Book 32, hadith # 4100

Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu'minin (Radhiallaahu Ánha): I was with Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) while Maymunah was with him. Then Ibn Umm Maktum came. This happened when we were ordered to observe veil. Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: Observe veil from him. We asked: oh Rasulullaah! is he not blind? He can neither see us nor recognize us. Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: Are both of you blind? Do you not see him?

 

Dalils points out that this hadith actually implies that the rules for the Prophet’s wives were different than for other women releasing other women from the implications of 53 entirely:

 

“This hadith is even more interesting when you look at the full text of it. In this part, the hadith collector Abu Dawud comments that there is also a hadith that Fatima bint Qays (rAa) spent her iddat with ibn Umm Maktum (rAa). Abu Dawud concludes that Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) must have a different rule than ordinary Muslim women like Fatima (rAa). This is certainly true. It is Surah al-Ahzab ayah 53 that is the special rule for Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa). I wonder why Abu Dawud's commentary on this hadith has not been quoted!”

 

We now move into the more diabolical territory of the Hadiths declaring women can see in the world only through one eye. Dalils does not even refer to these and each has been abrogated individually to make it absolutely clear none have credence. Form here on to Dalils summary there will only be occasional comments:

 

From the Sahaba (Radhiallaahu Ánhuma) .......

 

Ibn Ábbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu), who was one of the most knowledgeable companions of Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam), Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) even made duwaa for him saying "O Allaah, make him acquire a deep understanding of the religion of Islaam and instruct him in the meaning and interpretation of things."

 

Ibn Jarir (Rahimahullah) with an authentic chain of narrators has quoted Ibn Abbaas' (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) opinion was "that the Muslim women are ordered to cover their head and faces with outer garments except for one eye." (This is quoted in the Ma'riful Qur'an in the tafseer of Surah Ahzaab ayah # 33, with reference of Ibn Jarir with a sahih chain of narrators).  The Tabiee Ali Bin Abu Talha explained that this was the last opinion of Ibn Abbaas and the other opinions quoted from him were from before Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59 and the order of  the "Jalabib".  Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen commented on this saying of Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) by saying "This statement is "Marfoo" and in Sharee'ah that is the same category as a hadeeth which is narrated directly from Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam). The quote of Ibn Abbaas is quoted by many tabi'een like Ali Ibn Abu Talha and Ibn Jarir in Ma'riful Qur'ân by Mufti Muhammad Shafi vol.7 pg.217 and also in Tafseer Ibn Jarir, Vol. 22, pg.29 and also by Imaam Qurtubi all with SAHIH Chains and explained in the book "Hijaab" by Ibn Uthaymeen, Page # 9 and authenticated in the book "Hijaab wa Safur"by Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah) on page #11 and by Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Baaz  (Rahimahullaah) on page # 55 and 60 )

 

This is one of the proverbial one-eyed hadiths, diabolical in intent. Abrogated.

 

Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud  (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) Who was known as the most knowledgeable Sahaabi in matters of Sharee'ah.  He became Muslim when he was a young kid  and ever since that he stayed with Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) and gained the understanding of Qur'ân from him.  Umar Ibn Khattab (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) said about him "By Allaah, I don't know of any person who is more qualified in the matters dealing with the Qur'ân than Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud"  Explained, the word Jilbaab (as mentioned in the Qur'ân Surah Ahzaab ayah # 59 ) means a cloak which covering the entire body including the head,  face and hands.  (Quoted from Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah) in his book on fatwaas Page# 110 Vol # 2 and By Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen in the book Hijaab Page # 15)

 

Ayeshah (Radhiallaahu Ánha) Stated that in verse 30 and 31 of Surah An Noor "What has been allowed to be shown is the hands, bangles and rings but the face must be covered. (Quoted in the book Purdah P# 195 and in his Tafseer of Qur'ân under the tafseer of Surah An Noor)

 

Abu Ubaidah Salmani (Radhiallaahu Ánhu), an other well known Sahabi is quoted saying "Jilbaab should fully cover the women's body, so that nothing appears but one eye with which she can see." (Tafseer Al-Qurtubi) And In the time of Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) "The women used to don their cloaks (Jilbaabs) over their heads in such a manner that only the eyes were revealed in order to see the road." (The Book "Hijaab" page # 9)

 

Another diabolical one-eyed anecdotal quote. Abrogated.

 

Ubaida bin Abu Sufyan bin al-Harith ('Radhiallaahu Ánhu' An' Other well known and knowledgeable Companion of Rasulullaah) Imaam Muhammad bin Sirin (Rahimahullah) One of the most knowledgeable tabi'een) said "When I asked Ubaida bin Sufyan bin al-Harith ('Radhiallaahu An'hu) how the jalbaab was to be worn, he demonstrated it to me by pulling a sheet of cloth over his head to cover his entire body, leaving the left eye uncovered. This was also the explanation of the word 'Alaihinna in this verse"  (Commentary by Ibn Jarir and Ahkam-ul-Quran, Vol.3, p.457 also in "hijaab wa Safur" quoted by Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baaz under the chapter of his fatwaa on hijab on page #54) [Top]

 

From the Tabi 'een....

 

Hassan Al-Basri (Rahimahullah)

 

States in his tafseer of the Surah An-Nur,  "What a woman is allowed to show in this Ayah implies to those outer garments (not the face or hands) which the woman puts on to cover her internal decoration (her beauty). (Quoted in the book "Purdah" P#194 )

 

Ibn Jarir (Rahimahullah) Quotes the opinion of  Ibn Ábbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) "Allaah has enjoined upon all Muslim Women that when they go out of their homes under necessity, they should cover their faces by drawing a part of their outer garments over their heads." (Tafseer Ibn Jarir, VOL 22, pg.29)

 

The Tabi'ee, Qatadah (Rahimahullah) Stated that the Jilbab should be wrapped and fixed from above the forehead and made to cover the nose, (although the eyes are to show) and the chest and most of the face are to be covered.

 

The Tabi'ee Ali bin Abu Talha (Rahimahullah) Quotes from Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) that he used to say it was allowed to show the hands and face when Surah Noor ayah #31 was revealed but after Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59 with the word "Jalabib" was revealed then after this  Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) said that That the Muslim women are ordered to cover their head and faces with outer garments except for one eye."  And this was also the opinion of Ibn Mas'ud (Radhiallaahu Ánhu). (This is quoted by Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullaah) in his book of fatwaa and by Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baaz (Rahimahullaah) in the book "Hijaab wa Safur" Page # 60)

 

Three times one-eyed diabolical. Abrogated.

 

Imam Muhammad bin Sirin (Rahimahullah) One of the most knowledgeable tabi'een) "When I asked Ubaida bin Sufyan bin al-Harith ('Radhiallaahu Ánhu' Other well known and knowledgeable Companion of Rasulullaah) the meaning of this verse about "Alaihinna" and how the jalbaab was to be worn, he demonstrated it to me by pulling a sheet of cloth over his head to cover his entire body, leaving the left eye uncovered. This was also the explanation of the word 'Alaihinna in this verse"(Commentary by Ibn Jarir and Ahkam-ul-Quran, Vol # 3, p.457 also in "hijaab wa Sufor" quoted by Shaikh AbdulAziz Bin Bazz under the chapter of his fatwaa on hijab on page #54) [Top]

 

From the Mufasireen of Quraan...

 

The Mufassir, Imaam Al-Qurtubi (Rahimahullah),

Cites in his Tafseer of the Ayah on Jilbaab (Al-Ahzab 33:59), that the Jilbaab is: "a cloth which covers the entire body... Ibn 'Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) and 'Ubaidah As-Salmaani (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) said that it is to be fully wrapped around the women's body, so that nothing appears but one eye with which she can see." (Tafseer Al-Qurtubi Surah Al-Ahzab ayah # 59.  This was also agreed upon by Imaam Wahidi, Imaam Neishapuri in the book of tafseer of Qur'ân "Gharaib-ul-Quran" and "Ahkam-ul-Quran", Imaam Razi, in his tafseer of Surah Azhab in the book "Tafsir-i-Kabir" Imaam Baidavi in his tafseer of Qur'ân "Tafsir-i-Baidavi" and by Abu Hayyan in "Al-Bahr-ul-Muhit" and by Ibn Sa'd Muhammad bin Ka'b Kuradhi and they have all described the use of jalbaab more or less in the SAME way as the two described by Ibn Abbas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu).)

 

Four times one-eyed diabolical.  Abrogated.

 

Also from Imaam Qurtubi (Rahimahullah)

in his Al-Jamia li Ahkaamul Qur'ân states: "All women are in effect covered by the terms of the verse which embraces the Sharée principle that the whole of a woman is ‘Áwrah’ (to be concealed) – her face, body and voice, as mentioned previously. It is not permissible to expose those parts except in the case of need, such as the giving of evidence…" ("Al-Jamia li Ahkaamul Qur'ân")

 

If giving evidence is a case of need, why have women wearing the niqab tried to override this in courts in the West? Is this a case of double standards of jihad?

 

At-Tabari and Ibn Al-Mundhir

described the method of wearing the Jilbaab according to Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) and Qataadah (Radhiallaahu Ánhu). The sheet should be wrapped around from the top, covering the forehead, then bringing one side of the sheet to cover the face below the eyes so that most of the face and the upper body is covered. This will leave both eyes uncovered (which is allowed in necessity) (Rul-ul-Ma'ani, Vol 22, p.89)

 

Five times one-eyed diabolical.  Abrogated.

 

Ibn Kathir (Rahimahullah) said...

"Women must not display any part of their beauty and charms to strangers except what cannot possibly be concealed." (Quoted by Mufti Ibrahim Desi in his article on hijaab) [Top]

 

This passage makes clear that it is the very charmingness of the female that is what must be hidden, not specifically her sexual parts which might be licentious. Because she is wonderful she is cursed.  If God made woman beautiful he did it for a reason, not so that her light should be concealed.  Had this been the case she would have been born with a niqab!

 

From the 4 Madhabib (4 madhabs).......

 

Mufti Anwar Ali Adam Al Mazahiri (Mufti A'azam (Head Mufti) of Madrasa Madinatil Uloom Trinidad & Tobago.)

"Imaam Shaafi, Maalik and Hanbal hold the view that niqaab (covering the face and the hands completely with only a small area for the eyes to see) as being compulsory (fard).  Imaam Abu Hanifa says that niqaab is Wajib and the face and hands can be exposed provided that there is not fear of desire if one looks at the female face, otherwise if there is the slightest chance of desire developing in the looker (the meaning of desire is that the looker would see the female face and think that she is beautiful, sexual thought is not what is meant) then exposing the face and hands is Haraam. (This is from the fatwaa issued by  Mufti Anwar Ali Adam Al Mazahiri on 13/9/99.  He derived the opinions of the 4 Imaams  from these sources Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Tafseer Ma'rifatul Qur'aan, Durre Muhtaar, Fatawa Shami, Al Mabsoot, Fathul Qadeer. And the opinion of Imaam Abu hanifah is a directly derived from his statements in the Famous book of hanafi Fiqh Fatwaa Shami)

 

We have now slipped a long way beyond the three generations of the Prophet. From Tinidad & Tobago we have a real insight. Desire is not even sexual desire, but just thinking the woman is beautiful at all. Even if we have no sexual desire for a woman, if we are not blood relatives she is still cursed and her beauty may not be seen.  This means family and husband own the woman’s own beauty. It is theirs and theirs alone.  IT is not because she might be enticed to become fertilized and possibly pregnant by a man who is not her husband but just because she is beautiful at all!

 

Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baaz (Rahimahullah) said "It is compulsory for a woman to cover her face in front of non mahram men" (This has been quoted in Shaikh Bin Baaz's pamphlet on Hijab and in the book 'Islamic Fatwas regarding Women' and in the Arabic version of the book "hijaab Wa Safur" page #51)

 

Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah)

Relates that the correct opinion for the Hanbali and Malki madhaib is that is is wajib to cover everything except one or two eyes to see the way. (from the Arabic book "Hijaab wa Safur" under the fatwaa of Ibn Taymiyyah on hijaab, page # 10)

 

Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Quotes All of the woman is awrah based on the hadeeth of "Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi with a sahih isnaad). This is the correct view according to the madhhab of the Hanbalis, one of the two views of the Maalikis and one of the two views of the Shaafa’is. (Quoted in his book of fatwaa and on his web site)

 

Jamiatul Ulama Junbi Africa sated that the proper opinion for the Hanafi madhab is that  "A woman must be properly and thoroughly covered in a loose outer cloak which totally conceals her entire body including her face!"

(This from the book Islamic Hijab by Jamiatul Ulama P.12)

 

Mufti-e-Azam Rasheed Ahmad Ludhyanvi (This opinion is taken to be the correct opinion of the hanafi madhab today)

Explained in his tafseer of Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse #59.  "Allaah Ta'ala is telling them that whenever out of necessity they have to go out, they should cover themselves with a large cloak and draw a corner of it over their faces so that they may not be recognised. (From his article "A Detailed, analytical review on the Shar'ee hijab") [Top]

 

From the known and respect authentic Ulama.......

 

Ibn Al-Hazam (Rahimahullah)

"In arabic language, the language of the Prophet (saw), the word jilbaab (as mentioned in the Qur'ân Surah Ahzaab ayah # 59) means the outer sheet which covers the entire body. A sheet smaller than that which would cover the entire body, cannot be categorized as jilbaab.(Al-Muhallah, Vol 3. Pg 217)

 

Ibn Al-Mandhur (Rahimahullah)

"Jalabib is plural for Jilbaab. Jalbaab is actually the outer sheet/coverlet which a woman wraps around, on top of her garments to cover herself from head to toe. This covers the body entirely." (Lisan ul-Arab, VOL 1. Pg.273)

 

Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalanee (Rahimahullah)

A tradition reported on the authority of Aa'ishah (Radhiallaahu Ánha) says: "A woman in a state of Ihram (during Hajj and Umrah) should stretch her head cloth over to her face to hide it." (In Fathul Bari, chapter on Hajj)

 

Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) relates:

"Women used to room about without Cloaks (Jilbaabs) and men used to see their faces and hands, but when the verse stating 'O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks over themselves.' (Surah Al-Ahzaab,Verse #59) was reveled, then this was prohibited and women were ordered to wear the Jilbaab.  Then Ibn Tayimiyyah goes on to say "The word Jilbaab means a sheet which Ibn Mas'ud (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) explained as a cloak covering the entire body including the head,  face and hands.  Therefore, it is not permissible for the women to reveal the face and hands in public. (Ibn Taymiyyah's book on fatwaas Page# 110 Vol # 2 also in the book Hijaab Page # 15)

 

Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baaz (Rahimahullah)

"According to the understanding of the best generations (the "Salaf") after the ayah of hijaab was revealed than Muslims women must cover everything including the face and hands.  they can show one eye or two eyes to see the way.  this was the opinion held by many of the Sahaabah like Ibn Abbaas, Ibn Masud, Aa'ishah (Radhiallaahu Ánhuma) and others and this opinion was upheld by the Tab'ieen who followed than as Ali bin Abi Talha and Muhammad bin Sirin (Rahimahullaah) and by the righteous ulama who followed them as Ibn Taymiyyah and Imaam Ahmed bin Hanbal (Rahimahullaah)"  (Quoted from the book "hijaab wa Sufor")

 

Anecdotal hearsay.

 

Shaikh Abubakar Jassas (Rahimahullah)

states "This verse of Surah Ahzab shows that the young women when going out of their homes are ordered to cover their faces from strangers (non-mahram men), and cover herself up in such a manner that may express modesty and chastity, so that people with evil intentions might not cherish hopes from her". (Ahkum Al-Quran, VOL. III, p.48)

 

How then are young unmarried girls supposed to express the hopes that they may find a good man who may love them for who they really are and care well for their children together?  If they are not allowed to display their identities as women to men who could partner with them and provide for them, then the only hope they have is a blind arranged marriage. On genetic grounds alone this is deficient as it results in high rates of genetic abnormality, particularly when cousin marriage is frequent in arranged marriages.

 

Qazi Al-Baidavi (Rahimahullah)

"to let down over them a part of their outer garments" means that they should draw a part of their outer garment in front of their face and cover themselves" (Tafsir-I-Baidavi, Vol 4, p.168)

 

No it doesn’t at all.  This is male chauvinitst trickery unfit for the presence of God.

 

Jamia Binoria Pakistan (This is a Question and Answer from a Mufti at one of the hanafi Universities of Pakistan)

Question: Under which conditions are women allowed to leave the home?

Ans: The principle command for women is that they should remain in their home and should not go out without any extreme need because mischief is feared in their going out.  However if they have to go out in extreme necessity then they should go with a Mahram and duly covered in Burqa' (a "Burqa" covers the whole body including the hands and face) or large overlay so that their body including their cloths should not be visible and after buying the required article they should come back at once. In this condition there is no Haraam.

 

Abrogated.  The woman cannot fairly be confined to the home except in extreme need., not can or should she have to wear a burqa.

 

It is also stated in the Famous books of Fiqh Durrul Mukhtar...

"Young women are prohibited from revealing their faces in the presence of men."

 

Anecdotal conservative tribal custom.

 

Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid click here for the full Fatwaa on niqaab

"The most correct opinion, which is supported by evidence, is that it is obligatory to cover the face, therefore young women are forbidden to uncover their faces in front of non-mahram men in order to avoid any mischief"

An other fatwaa when he was asked about is it preferred for sisters to wear the niqab, he said....

"The fact is that it is obligatory for women to cover their faces" as to how to wear the niqaab the Shaikh said "A woman may uncover her left eye in order to see where she is going, and if necessary she may uncover both eyes. The opening should only be wide enough for the eyes."

Yet in an other Fatwaa he explained what was the Awrah of a woman with..."Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said “All of a woman is ‘awrah.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi with a saheeh isnaad).

 

Here we have that a woman MAY uncover the left eye to see where she is going. This is abjectly disgraceful male chauvinist conduct.  It even goes so far as to imply that seeing through one eye is merely optional and that seeing through no eyes at all might be more desirable. Another One eye Satanic verse is hereby abrogated.

 

Shaikh ibn Uthaymeen

 

Question: What is the Islamic hijab?

Response: The Islamic hijab is for the women to cover everything that is forbidden for her to expose. That is, she covers everything that she must cover. The first of those bodily parts that she must cover is her face. It is the source of temptation and the source of people desiring her. Therefore, the woman must cover her face in front of those men that are not mahram. As for those of who claim that the Islamic hijab is to cover the head, shoulders, back, feet, shin and forearms while allowing her to uncover her face and hands, This is a very amazing claim. This is because it is well known that the source of temptation and looking is the face. How can one say that the Sharee'ah does not allow the exposure of the foot of the woman while it allows her to uncover her face? It is not possible that there could be in the Esteemed, Wise and Noble Shariah a contradiction.

('Islamic Fatwas regarding Women' Page # 289)

 

All religious laws contain contradictions. To deny this is a contradiction in itself.  The passage makes clear it is the attractiveness of the face in particular that is the claimed reason it must be covered first of all bodily parts. This is a massive contradiction and shows the absurd oppression of the passage.

 

 Jamaal Zarabozo In Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 59, Allaah has ordered the believing women to wear a jilbaab. A jilbaab as defined in all the books of tafseer is a cloak that covers the woman's body from the top of her head to her feet. It is also described in those books, form the scholars of the earliest generation that after that verse was revealed, the women would completely cover themselves, leaving, for example, just one eye exposed so they can see the road. Hence, this is the outer garment of the woman that she must wear when she is in front of men she is not related to.

 

Another One eye Satanic verse is hereby abrogated. Which of these blessings would you deny?.

 

Shaikh Ibn Jibreen

Question: I am married to a woman who wears hijab, praise to Allaah, However, as is the custom in my country, she does not wear hijab in front of her sister's husband and her sister does not wear hijab in my presence. This is the custom. Furthermore, my wife does not wear hijab in the presence of my brother or her cousins. Does this go against the Sharee'ah and religion? What can I do while it has become the custom in my country not to wear hijab in the presence of those people that I mentioned. If I tell my wife to wear hijab in front of those people, she will accuse me of not trusting her and being suspicious about her and so forth.

Response: All of those groups of men that you mentioned in the question are not mahram for her. It is not allowed for her to uncover her face and beauty in front of them. Allaah has only allowed her to uncover in front of the mahram men mentioned in the verse in surah al-Noor, "[Tell the believing women] not to reveal their adornments except to their husbands, their fathers ......" (al-Noor 31).

First, you should convince your wife that it is forbidden to uncover her face in front of non-mahram men. Make her abide by that even if it goes against the customs of your people and even if she makes accusations against you. You should also make this point clear to your close relatives that you mentioned, that is, the brethren of the husband, the husband of the sister, the cousins and so forth. All of them are non-mahram and they all may marry her if she gets divorced.  ("Islamic Fatwas regarding Women")

 

This is a completely unacceptable attempt by one conservative school to convince Muslims from other paths that their interpretation and customs are to be overruled by this ultra-conservative opinion.  It is contrary to the spirit of the Qur’an to act in such a way.

 

“A person who considers carefully the wordings of the Qur'anic verses, their well-known and generally accepted meaning and the practice during the time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) cannot dare deny the fact that the islamic Sharee'ah enjoins on the woman to hide her face from the other people and this has been the practice of the Muslim women ever since the time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) himself” (In the book "Purda" P# 199)

 

I deny the fact and abrogate the argument.

 

Dalil’s Summary on the suras and hadiths claiming neqab is fahd (compulsory);

 

To summarize, 17 hadiths have been presented as dalils. Of these 4 (mentioned in points A, G, J, and N) refer to the khimar and it has been proved that the khimar is not a niqab. Therefore, these 4 hadiths are not even about niqab at all.

 

Note: I have made a page giving a more detailed explanation of why the khimar is not a niqab. See What is the Khimar? This essay contains some of the same information found in my essay A Study of Surah an-Nur ayah 31 but focuses on the single issue of the khimar.

 

Of the 13 hadiths that remain after this, another 5 hadiths (mentioned in points C, I, O, P, and Q) are only about Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) and it has been proved that the screen commanded for Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) in Surah al-Ahzab ayah 53 is not an obligation for ordinary Muslim women. So these hadiths do not say anything about niqab for ordinary Muslim women, either. Along similar lines 1 of the hadiths (mentioned in point L) says that houris wear niqab but does not say anything about whether human women need to.

 

Of the 7 hadiths that remain once those have been removed from consideration, 3 hadiths (mentioned in points B, F, and K) mention the jilbab but they do not provide independent proof of whether the jilbab should cover the face. In fact, one (point F) seems to mention only the covering of the head. In other words, if it is proved that the jilbab does not need to cover the face, these hadiths are consistent with that as well. And as was shown in the Quran section, it is clear that some scholars hold that the jilbab does not need to cover the face, so that does not prove it either.

 

Note: In case the argument that the jilbab does not necessarily cover the face is not accepted, I have also written an essay, What is the Final Rule on Hijab? that argues for the display of the face and hands while assuming that Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 does indicate that the face should be covered.

 

This leaves 4 hadiths. Regarding the hadith "A woman is awra" (point D), it has been discussed above and it is clear that many scholars have interpreted the face and hands to be an exemption to the meaning of the hadith. Therefore this is an acceptable position to follow, and the hadith does not necessarily command niqab.

 

Of the total of 17 hadiths presented, therefore, only 3 (mentioned in points E, H, and M) clearly and unambiguously show women wearing niqab or screening themselves. And these hadiths do not contain in themselves any command made by the Prophet (sAas) for niqab, nor any mention of a Quranic ayah with a command for niqab. They show that niqab is halal, and in fact they show that it is mustahabb and sunna. But they do not by themselves show that niqab is fard.

 

Dalis now examines hadith which point to niqab specifically NOT being fard (obligatory):

 

Did the Prophet allow women to display their faces and hands? Having looked at the hadiths that are presented to claim that niqab is fard, let us now look at some hadiths that point to the opposite conclusion:

 

a) Bukhari Book 54 #515. Narrated Sa'd bin Abu Waqqas: Once Umar asked leave to see Allah's Apostle, in whose company there were some Qurayshi women, who were talking to him and asking him for more financial support, raising their voices. When Umar asked permission to enter, the women quickly screened themselves (fa badirna al-hijab). When Allah's Apostle admitted Umar, Allah's Apostle was smiling. Umar said, "O Allah's Apostle! May Allah keep you happy always!". Allah's Apostle said, "I am astonished at these women here with me. As soon as they heard your voice, they quickly screened themselves". Umar said, "O Allah's Apostle! You have more right to be feared by them". Then he addressed (the women) saying, "O enemies of yourselves! Do you fear me and not Allah's Apostle?" They replied, "Yes, for you are a fearful and fierce man as compared to Allah's Apostle". On that Allah's Apostle said (to Umar), "By Him in Whose hands my life is, when satan sees you taking a path, he takes a path other than yours".

 

COMMENT: Here we see that the women were not wearing niqab when they were in front of the Prophet (sAas), since they had to put it on when Umar (rAa) entered. How could it be fard then?? Instead, this is like Umm Khallad (rAa) or Asma (rAa), it merely shows that niqab is mustahabb and sunna. Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 was revealed in Dhu'l-Qida 5 A.H. and Surah an-Nur ayah 31 in Shawwal 6 A.H., whereas this hadith seems to be taking place after the conquest of Mecca in Ramadan 8 A.H., after which the women of Quraysh (along with the men) all accepted Islam.

 

b) Bukhari Book 74 #247. Narrated Abdullah bin Abbas: Al-Fadl bin Abbas rode behind the Prophet as his companion rider on the back portion of his she-camel on the Day of Nahr [on the Farewell Hajj], and Al-Fadl was a handsome man. The Prophet stopped to give people verdicts. In the meantime, a beautiful woman from the tribe of Khath'am came, asking the verdict of Allah's Apostle. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet looked back while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet held out his hand backwards and caught the chin of Al-Fadl and turned his face to the other side in order that he should not gaze at her. She said, "O Allah's Apostle! The obligation of performing hajj enjoined by Allah on His worshipers has become due (compulsory) on my father, who is an old man and who cannot sit firmly on the riding animal. Will it be sufficient that I perform hajj on his behalf?". He said, "Yes".

 

COMMENT: According to those who hold that niqab is fard, even when a woman is in ihram (as this woman was) she must cover her face when she comes in front of non-mahram men. The woman of Khath'am had her face uncovered, so that the two men could clearly see that she was beautiful (and apparently the narrator ibn Abbas rAa could as well). Why did the Prophet (sAas) not admonish the woman and tell her to cover her face when she came in front of them? The answer is obvious: it is perfectly halal for a woman to have an uncovered face.

 

c) Muslim Book 4 #1926. Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: I observed prayer with the Messenger of Allah on the Eid day. He commenced with prayer before the sermon, without adhan or iqama. He then stood up leaning on Bilal and he commanded (them) to be on guard (against evil for the sake of) Allah and he exhorted (them) on obedience to Him, and he preached to the people and admonished them. He then walked on till he came to the women and preached to them and admonished them and encouraged them to give alms, for most of them are the fuel for Hell. A woman having a dark spot on her cheek stood up and said, "Why is it so, Messenger of Allah?". He said, "For you grumble often and show ingratitude to your spouses". And they began to give alms out of their ornaments such as their earrings and rings, which they threw in the cloak of Bilal.

 

COMMENT: How did the narrator know that the woman had a dark spot on her cheek unless her face was uncovered?

 

d) Ibn Abbas said: A beautiful woman, from among the most beautiful of women, used to pray behind the Prophet. Some of the people used to go to pray in the first row to ensure they would not be able to see her. Others would pray in the last row of the men, and they would look from underneath their armpits to see her. Because of this act, in regard to her, Allah revealed, "Verily We know the eager among you to be first, and verily We know the eager among you to be behind" (Surah al-Hijr ayah 24) -- this hadith is found in ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, Tayalisi, Baihaqi, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and Nasai and it is judged SAHIH by Albani. He includes it as #3472 in his Silsilat al-Ahadith as-Sahih

 

COMMENT: This hadith only makes sense if the woman's face was uncovered. Why did Allah SWT not reveal a command for niqab, if niqab is fard to prevent such situations? Instead, the Prophet (sAas) merely admonished the men, who are commanded to lower their gazes in Surah an-Nur ayah 30 and were not doing so.

 

Glossary:

 

"The root word of hijab is hajaba and that means: (hajb) to veil, cover, screen, shelter, seclude (from), to hide, obscure (from sight), to make imperceptible, invisible, to conceal, to make or form a separation (a woman), to disguise, masked, to conceal, hide, to flee from sight, veil, to veil, conceal, to cover up, become hidden, to be obscured, to vanish, to become invisible, disappear from sight, to veil, to conceal, to withdraw, to elude perception.

 

“The word, niqaab (sing.) and nuqub (pl.) in its Arabic root means to bore, to pierce, to make a hole. The sexual nature of the root should be apparent. In Hebrew and Aramaic the same root meaning exists. In Modern Hebrew there is the word nikBA, which means ‘tunnel’ and more importantly, the very word for ‘female’, nekeVA comes from this root. Yet today there is no veiling remotely comparable to what is going on within the global umma. “

 

References:



[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7651231.stm

[2] http://thewomenofislam.blogspot.com/2008/10/saudi-cleric-issues-fatwa-stating-women.html

[3] Isa stands for Esau, a name used by Jews for Jesus as a false prophet (Index to the Qur’an).

[4] http://middleeast.about.com/od/religionsectarianism/f/me080209.htm

[5] http://www.dhushara.com/paradoxhtm/fall.htm - anchor_assyrianveil

[6] Walther, Wiebke 1981 Women in Islam, Marcus Wiener, Princeton.

[7] http://www.dhushara.com/paradoxhtm/vale.htm

[8] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlx_QrmC9IE

[9] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRAtRQsiuqI

[10] http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=118F9624-B318-4C86-AA6F-BBAC6D0289FA

[11]http://plancksconstant.org/blog1/2006/10/muslim_cleric_unveil.html

[12] http://www.muhajabah.com/whyniqab.htm

[13] http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jun/17/azerbaijans-first-lady/

[14] http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=118F9624-B318-4C86-AA6F-BBAC6D0289FA

[15] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9cAa6SP79M&NR=1

[16] http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/978.htm

[17] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghada_Jamshir

[18] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikah_Misyar

[19] Goodwin, Jan 1994 Price of Honour, Little, Brown and Company, Boston.

[20] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sakina-kaaba/message/6

[21] http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/020631.php

[22] http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/02/08/iraq.women/index.html

[23] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7095209.stm

[24] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXzUuKdfnRE

[25] Norenzayan, Ara  et. al. 2008 The Origin and Evolution of Religious Prosociality Science 322 58

[26] http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2007/04/16/man-slaughtered-his-14-year-old-wife.html

[27] http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/04/17/yemen.child.ap/index.html

[28] Goodwin, Jan 1994 Price of Honour, Little, Brown and Company, Boston.

[29] http://www.homa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=104&Itemid=58

[30] Brooks Geraldine 1995 Nine Parts of Desire, Anchor Doubleday, New York.

[31] Occhiogrosso, Peter 1996 The Joy of Sects, Doubleday, NY. p403

[32] Walther, Wiebke 1981 Women in Islam, Marcus Wiener, Princeton.

[33] http://www.homa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=62&Itemid=55

[34] http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/1372959/posts

[35] http://yaakov.newsvine.com/_news/2006/03/13/131241-to-rape-an-unveiled-woman

[36] http://www.iranfocus.com/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5184

[37] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/975997.stm

[38] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7098480.stm

[39] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF-SFydVOmU

[40] http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/intimates.htm

[41] http://www.hyscience.com/archives/2007/12/16year_old_cana.php

[42] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-462342/Honour-killing-sister-breaks-silence.html

[43] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sakina-kaaba/message/96

[44] http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/06/10/22/10076682.html

[45] http://www.tbsjournal.com/Otterman.html

[46] al-Tabari Alseera Al Nabawiya - The Prophetic biography V 2 p 463

[47] El Saadawi, Nawal 1980 The Naked (Hidden) Face of Eve, Beacon Press, Boston.

[48] http://www.dhushara.com/paradoxhtm/vale.htm - Anchor-Next-11481

[49] Armstrong, Karen 1991 Muhammad, Victor Gollancz, London.

[50] Faris, Nabih 1952 (trans) al-Kabali: The Book of Idols, Princeton Univ. Pr., Princeton p 31,32

[51] Brooks Geraldine 1995 Nine Parts of Desire, Anchor Doubleday, New York.

[52] Mernissi, Fatima 1987 Beyond the Veil Indiana University Press

[53] http://atheism.about.com/od/bookreviews/fr/BeyondVeil.htm

[54] http://fr.blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-UQ7IfDkweaKQnJqYaRkL.SMCuXi4qfLOzJ8-?cq=1&p=101

[55] http://www.saunalahti.fi/penelope/Feminism/matrifoc.html

[56] http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tifinagh.htm

[57] http://www.albalagh.net/women/0097.shtml

[58] http://www.marchforjustice.com/shock&awe.php

[59] http://tootaslife.blogspot.com/2006/10/niqab-and-women-as-sex-objects.html

[60] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7503757.stm

[61] http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/07/burqa-prison-says-minister.html

[62] http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2008-10-09-burqa-ban_N.htm

[63] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sakina-kaaba/message/47

[64] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2970514.stm

[65] http://middleeast.about.com/od/religionsectarianism/a/me080129a.htm

[66] El Guindi, Fadwa 1999 Veil: Modesty, Privacy and Resistance, Berg Publishers

[67] Darabi, Parvin  and Thomson, Romin P. 2000 Rage Against the Veil, Prometheus Books

[68] http://www.lipmagazine.org/articles/revitalvi_212.shtml

[69] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYoNDgB-jDU

[70] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEcNaVkQUx4

[71] http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=804B2107-EDF4-4379-9A2C-176CF7772397

[72] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malika_El_Aroud

[73] http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/05/27/europe/terror.php

[74] http://winnipeg.indymedia.org/item.php?15292S

[75] Brooks Geraldine 1995 Nine Parts of Desire, Anchor Doubleday, New York.

[76] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoning

[77] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7543791.stm

[78] http://www.stop-stoning.org/node/222

[79] http://maryamnamazie.blogspot.com/2007/06/save-khaled-hardani-and-kobra-najjar.html

[80] http://www.homa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57&Itemid=53

[81] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10424611

[82] http://www.dhushara.com/book/zulu/zulu.htm

[83] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7237663.stm

[84] http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/mg19926695.100-the-pill-may-put-women-off-mr-right.html

[85] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1154211.stm

[86] http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23404811-details/Women+in+hijabs+%27need+sunlight+or+risk+illness%27/article.do

[87] http://www.sexualparadox.org

[88] http://www.dhushara.com/paradoxhtm/culture.htm

[89] http://www.dhushara.com/paradoxhtm/warrior.htm

[90] http://judaism.about.com/od/denominationsofjudaism/a/haredi.htm

[91] http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1172607

[92] http://blogs.jta.org/telegraph/2008/02/08/154/the-frumka-orthodox-women-find-religion/

[93] http://www.iran-e-sabz.org/news/sigheh.htm

[94] Mernissi, Fatima 1987 Beyond the Veil Indiana University Press

[95] http://atheism.about.com/od/bookreviews/fr/BeyondVeil.htm

[96] http://www.allaahuakbar.net/womens/niqaab.htm

[97] http://www.muhajabah.com/niqabdalils.htm