Nine Reasons as to why the Muslim Women Might Adopt the Veil?

Continued from Part 1 

A notable Islamic website[12] claims that the niqab is desirable but not compulsory. It lists the following six reasons why a Muslim woman (must) wear the hijab and the why is being shrouded in a niqab is even better:



Hijab is haya (shyness, privacy)
Hijab develops taqwa (higher god consciousness) 
Hijab is a jihad that purifies the soul
Hijab is a protection for sisters
Hijab is an assertion of Islamic identity
Hijab is fard (obligatory)
Niqab is a better screen of privacy…
Niqab helps develop more taqwa…
Niqab is a greater jihad…
Niqab is a better protection…
Niqab is a stronger assertion…
Niqab is mustahabb (highly recommended)

This essay will examine each of these reasons and their arguments in detail and also as to why they are misleading women into believing these compulsory options and other reasons of why obligatory veiling in Islam, which leads to unsatisfactory outcomes?

A: To support one’s Religious & Cultural aspect is the Easiest Course.It is easy to understand why Muslim women in Muslim societies continue to use the veil, when it is not a universal aspect of the culture in which they exist; but it is important to separate the cultural traditions from religious impositions. While there are ongoing debates on whether the hijab should be allowed in universities in countries like Azerbaijan, Tunisia and Turkey where fewer Muslim women wear headscarves—in Saudi Arabia and Iran, it is obligatory for women to cover their hair, their whole body and sometimes their faces, too. Ikbal Gharbi, a professor of Anthropology at 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 folks… It is pathology”.

The cultural justification for the hijab and the niqab is based on modesty and feminine privacy common to most cultures, but it is taken to an extreme in regards 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? The Hijab is in fact part of a larger code of conduct, and constitutes only one aspect of haya... Allah has through the Shari’ah 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 ayat 31, women are "not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it"). From this, we can see that the hijab is a screen of privacy, an act of haya. Clearly, it is mustahabb to screen your 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 the niqab and gloves”.

This argument is seditious and illustrates why the hijab alone becomes the slippery slope to the niqab and the burqa. An oppressive occlusion of the Muslim female in her entirety, which interferes with many aspects of expressions in employment, and in establishing ethical and trustful relationships in the wider civilized societies… This is harmful and has a high cost to both Muslim women and men. Seen in the context of the Arab societies rather than the wider Islamic community, one can appreciate that this screening goes a lot further than the hijab and it forms a cultural ‘iron curtain’ separating the Muslim women and men, as well as the private and public spheres of their lives... David Gutmann, an emeritus professor of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, expresses the problem of isolation in this way [14]:

“The Niqab brings to mind the conformation of the bedouin tent, designed for the 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 homes, the Muslim women of the house do not encounter men from the outer worlds... These are met and given hospitality by the Muslim men of the house in a kind of transitional zones -the Diwan (the room for receiving guests0 and the women) are only muted voices sifting through from the distant "feminine" spaces of the dwellings. Wearing the Niqab as she ventures forth, the Arab woman remains an extension of her closed domestic spaces, which she carries within her. The Niqab then functions as a kind of an immune system, one which maintains the inner Muslim world, the domain behind the fabrics, in a stable and predictable state... Even as the Arab woman ventures out into a world characterized by these flux and changes, she carries within her the Niqab - a token of the stable domestic world”…

The over-arching assumption in the Muslim conservative societies is that, the enforced extreme modesty is the only protection against the Muslim women being exploited by Muslim men or any other men folks... Running through all these arguments is a tacit assumption that the unveiled are the whores and that any society that allows their women to be unveiled, must be exploiting them sexually.

The Saudi Arabian Government’s arguments on ‘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 to their Muslim husbands/brothers/sons/fathers, and an unquenchable sexual appetites, while asserting Western women -are more exploited and oppressed than anywhere else, because they have to flaunt their sexuality and will be raped or have to consent to illicit sex to survive.’

Now, this is something which is manifestly an untrue deception on the part of the Muslim clergy. 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 even her hands, nor her face, nor anything, then how can she drive a car? Those who call to allow Muslim women to drive according to what has been written can be divided into two groups. The first group includes Westernized people, who want the Westernized societal ways, to tell the truth. They want to destroy our society, corrupt it, and drag it down into the depths of decay and permissiveness; like in Western societies it is done. 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 the Muslim 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 Muslim woman to drive, because if a Muslim 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 are 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 traditional Muslim notion that the Muslim societies are less licentious than the Western cultures[16] comes from Ghada Jamshir [17], the renowned Bahrani women’s rights activist and ardent campaigner for the reforms of Sharia courts. She decries both the Shiite Mut’ah or temporary marriage and the Sunni Misyar marriage [18], in which the wife gives up on several of her rights by her own free will… Such as living with the husband, equal division of nights between his other wives in cases of polygamy, the rights to housing, and maintenance money, which can be used in a similar manner to Mut’ah by the ‘husband’ and later repudiating the wife in divorce.

‘We have a problem with family planning. We have no such family planning in Bahrain. The Shiites in Bahrain has marriages for the   purpose of Mut’ah (pleasures). They bring multitudes of children into the world without thinking, and how they grow up in the streets. It is accepted for a Muslim 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 such Mut’ah marriages according to the following classifications:-

    • "Pleasures from sexual contact with her thighs"
    • "Pleasure from sexual touching"
    • "Pleasure from sexual contact with her breasts"
    • "Pleasure from a little girl"
Do you know what pleasures from a little girl means? It means, they derive sexual pleasures from a girl of 2, 3 or 4years old. This constitutes to sexual assault of the girl. What does "Pleasure from sexual contact with her thighs mean?" "It means deriving sexual pleasures from an infant." "How old is an infant? One year, a year and a half, a few months?" Is it conceivable for a grownup man to have sex with an infant girl? And you people tell me the Islamic Shari'ah authorizes all this? Forget about the Mut’ah. Let’s talk about the Misyar marriages too..! What do Misyar marriages mean? A Muslim man marries a Muslim 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 Muslim male anxiety, rather than the will of Allah, one can see that even in countries such as Oman where the veil is not required by law, the social conventions will continue to make the veil desirable or obligatory for many Muslim women. The shadow of this mentality leads to a false attitude on the part of the Muslim women’s defenders of the hijab and the niqab that the veil somehow makes them more able to be recognized as a cowed human being, with a personality and commanding genuine respect, rather than a sexual object… Without realizing that this is valid only in societies where the veil is a token of such realities and that the reverse can be true in the West, veiling may promote social divisions and reduce genuine means of establishing mutual trusts with the society at large...

B: To submit to authority, because one may otherwise be beaten or imprisoned.
beating of unveiled muslim women

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

In both, Shia’ite countries such as Iran and in Sunni countries, from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan; women face penalties from imprisonments to beatings, for not conforming to the Muslim dress codes. Muslim women who do not conform to these demands to adopt the veil can also be subject to death threats as well, particularly in the regions where radical Islam is a central part of the political agendas...

Hamas considers the unveiled as collaborators of a kind.  It is our religious duty to execute collaborators. Hamas threatened women TV reporters with beheadings, 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’. Muslim women working on Palestinian television in Gaza have been told to avoid walking alone in the streets after radical Islamists threatened to behead them if they did not dress in religious garb while on air. These threats from the extremist fringe group, ‘The Righteous Swords of Islam’, are being taken seriously by the 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 Muslim 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 spirits and morals of our people," Mashad, 10 April 2008 (AKI). A top Shiite 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 Shiite 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 Shiite 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 files are nauseating. Pages after pages of Muslim women being 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 had ignored other "rules" that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce. Basra is a stronghold of conservative Shiite groups. As many as 133 women were killed in Basra last year alone -79 for violation of the "Islamic teachings" and 47 for so-called honor killing;, 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, head". "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 the 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 notions of wearing the Hijab, niqab, or even a burqa, is a free choice for 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 Allah.

The belief, that the veil is something the creator wants, or approves off, and that He is watching and knows what is better for women than they know themselves, permeates the thinking and beliefs of the Muslim women wearing both the hijab and niqab in traditional and Western societies alike... It underlies the defensiveness of Muslim women to any suggestions that they should moderate the use of the veil for social cohesions and is the foundation of claims that they are wearing the veil by choice and by right... An interview of three young Muslim women—one wearing hijab, another niqab, and the third no veil or headscarf at all—revealed that Allah preferences of veils and the evangelical duties of Islam were at the very core [24]: Sumayyah Hussein, ‘I have worn the hijab since a child. I believe in wearing 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/Allah wants that of them and they believe that god knows better for them than they should know of. Sheika el-Kathiri ‘I have been wearing the niqab for more that one year and I do it to please my creator and it is a 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 contributions towards the  society and its 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 unveilied: ‘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 Muslima, you're a missionary at heart, and 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 items 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, the hijab is a command from Allah SWT and our sisters draw near to Him through wearing the hijab. And clearly, by 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 the niqab, surely this would be enough! How can it be "extreme" to wear the niqab or any gloves when her face and her hands are the only things the Muslim sister has uncovered in public to begin with..?”

This argument is incorrect and misleading. The Quran does not say, that God ordained this so that women should be covered with a niqab, chador, or a burqa. The passages rather indicate that veiling was something Muhammad decided to adopt for his wives only following the Persians and the Byzantine customs. Moreover the argument here is abysmal, by claiming that the Muslim 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 submissions…

The imposition of the veil, especially in its more restrictive forms is clearly, unfairly and unjustifiably demeaning to Muslim females. It appears that the Muslim authorities would happily declare that the Muslim women should be completely obscured and see through no eyes at all and be happy to do this for the love of God. The hijab and niqab are also claimed to bring more taqwa (God consciousness) to Muslim females:

“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 reflections and herself in the 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 mannerfor her rabul-izzat.”

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

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

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

How has the niqab been indicated by the Sharia?

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 ayat 53 and the hadiths confirm that Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) covered their faces in obedience to the command in this ayat to screen themselves from non-mahram men. Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) is also a model to all Muslim women and this is another reason in itself that the niqab is mustahabb.

The author includes the following justifications, which again is specious: If you claim that the niqab "presents a bad image of Islam" or "is oppressive" – think again. Would you say that if you saw Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) wearing their niqabs? There is no dispute that Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) wore the niqab, and this fact alone makes it clear that the niqab is part of Islamic creed.

It is not established what forms of curtain is implied by ayat 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 the Arab customs. The claim that the wives of the prophet are a model for all Muslim women raises all manner of issues. This is in no way implies that the veil should be universal for all Muslim women, even for that matter…. If the prophet’s wives are to be a role model, this requires examining each of the prophet’s 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 years of age. This raises more fundamental issues about the treatments of Muslim women and pedophilia implicit in the Islamic traditions.

In Afghanistan, marriages to child brides of 11 is by no means uncommon [26], girls from 8 years of age are married and divorced in Yemen [27], and Khomeini permitted girls as young as 9-year-old  readied to marry [28]. So the problem is endemic to both Sunni and Shiite traditions:

"Khomeini lowered the marriage age for females from eighteen to thirteen, but permitted girls as young as nine, and even seven years in some cases, to be married off,  if a physician signs a certificate agreeing to their lawful sexual maturity…? 'In his book Tahrir Al' Vassilih, Khomeini writes about the legal requirements 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 marriages are most common, doctors often don't even see the girl’... '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 to saying that 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 pleasures 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."

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 that the court also ordered the youngster be removed from the control of the father who forced her into the wedding. The lawyer, Shatha Ali Nasser, said that the girl is just one of the thousands of underage girls who have been forced into such 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 a day after the judge in Sana’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 that 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 headscarf, standing with her lawyer. In issuing his ruling Tuesday, the judge said he was terminating the marriage because the girl "had not reached her puberty".

Muhammad took nine wives and a concubine after Khadja died, more than the four wives he permitted in the Quran, plus unlimited slave-concubines, 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 being married to Khadja. In Mecca he wed the widow Saudah and was engaged to Aisha, the 6-year-old daughter of Abu Bakr. He later married her in Medina at age 9years, 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 Allah 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 even 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 Muhammad must have had for those around him. It is also evidenced of self confidence on the part of women in Ancient Arabia totally lacking ... among the Muslim women of later centuries. There are reports of other women, who were married to Muhammad but whom, 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, that the Arab women, at the time of Muhammad were assertive enough to make no secret of their desires or disinclination" [32].

The Prophet’s nine wives after Khadija may actually number 10 in all. But with the additional gifted wife Maryah the slave from the ruler of Egypt, another slave-booty Rayhaneh he claimed after killing her husband, 16 women he is said to have divorced, as well as the 7 others he may have been married to altogether make the total of 33. If the veil is going to be a standard set by the wives of the Prophet as role-models for women all over the world, where does this leave Zaynab, 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 consummated at 9 years of age? Does this mean that the veiling of women is a mark upon them, to whom to conform to such standards by the law of Sharia? What kind of example is Zaynab setting for the Muslim women? That they should have to be veiled for 15 centuries, just 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 this ruling be so valid?

It appears that during the time in Madinah, when 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 ayat 59 was superseded by Surah an-Nur ayat 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 the Muslims and it is not 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 claims that the niqab is mustahabb or even fard? Even after Surah an-Nur ayat 31 had been revealed, ordinary Muslim women continued to wear the niqab with the approval of the Prophet. 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 (Sahih Bukhari Book 54 #515). As well, the fact that the Prophet had to tell women not to wear the niqab and gloves in ihram (Sahih Bukhari Book 29 #64) means that the niqab and the gloves were well-known and were worn by a substantial number of sahabiyat. Clearly this form of extra modesty has the approval of the Prophet and that is another reason why that it is Sunnah… such customs is not a legal requirement, and by its own nature, should be a matter of individual choices. 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 it is compulsory. It brings the Sunnah into disrepute.

The descriptions of the dress-code of Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa), of the way that the jilbab was worn when Surah al-Ahzab ayat 59 was first revealed, and of the extra-modest dress worn by some of the sahabiyat, all clearly and unambiguously point to a face-cover. This makes the niqab the specific forms of an extra-modest dress set by the Sharia. As such, it is Sunnah as well as mustahabb. Once again the argument lacks religious validity and smacks of patriarchal cultural traditions of those times. It is an argument generated by such male Islamic scholars in conservative societies to justify these existing restrictive customs of male-control and dominations of Muslim women, which are not sanctioned in the Quran at all.

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

taj hilali -incovered meat, unveiled Swidish woman raped by muslims
Left: A woman gang raped by Muslims in Sweden on the pretext that 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. 

Muslim authorities put a positive spin on the hijab, on the basis that a Muslim woman’s modesty is favoured by Allah, 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 hadiths that an unveiled Muslim woman is equivalent to a slave or a whore, and is thus fair meat for the taking, following the sixth century traditions, so to not be veiled is an open invitation to self-righteous abuses.

Basically the requirements to wear the veil are making the Muslim women to take the shame and the blame for the Muslim men failing to control themselves! 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 just because the Muslim culture tacitly assumes any unveiled woman whether Muslim or not, is provocative and thus fair games for the invitation of rape.

“A German journalist Udo Ulfkotte told in a recent interview that in Holland, that you can now see examples of the young, the 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% of the veiled women carry veils reportedly because of the fear of being harassed or even being molested by the 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, and 80% of those assaults were made by the 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 nightly escapade… My friend reports that, in many cases, he was able to locate and arrest these 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 such cultures... The only evil those parents would see, genuinely, is the temptation that their male children had to face..? Since in most cases the victims were non-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 behaviors?”

Such acts are by no means confined to Western countries, but are as prevalent in Muslim countries. Rapes in Muslim countries are often not reported. The victims are sometimes accused of indecency and executed. Iran hanged a teenage girl after being 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 she 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 the court as she explained that she had no intentions of killing the man but was merely defending herself and her younger niece from rape, the report said. The court, however, issued 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, and not the victims… She was eventually hanged in public in the northern town of Neka.

Rape and murder is on the 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 being 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 concerns in recent months over a rapid rise in prostitution and suicides among young Iranian 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 to Islamic Sharia laws. The woman was initially punished for violating these laws on the segregation of sexes - she was in an unrelated man's car at the time of the unfortunate attack... When she appealed, the 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 illicit 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 Muslim 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 Muslim woman should carefully consider the possible consequences. The Quran says also that Allah prefers men over women and that women are to be beaten, if their husbands merely fear their perverseness:

"Muslim men stand superior to women in that Allah 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" (Surah  4:34)

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

The Muslim Mullahs lays down these laws of beatings, often with a fiery tongue [39], making no ambiguity about the desirability and even the necessity of wife-beatings, as God’s divine will:

“We must know that [wife] beating is a punishment in the Islamic religious laws. 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 Quran] in order to show the 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 laws. We must remind the ignorant from among the Islamic Nations 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 proportions. They blow what is happening in Muslim countries out of proportions. 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, and 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 Quran 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 Muslim women submitting, under the pains of beatings, to the orders of their husbands. Once again, Muslim women are treated like domesticated animals… As in the passage in reason [8], this passage treats Western women as a bubble gum to be spat out by the Muslim men; and once again, the occurrence of such illegal violence by a fraction of men in the West is used as an excuse for the 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 U.S. homicide of a female intimate have declined from around 1,500 in 1980’s to around 1,150 in 2005 [40]. Not all of these have arisen from beatings. Not actual depravity but sexual emancipation of women itself is regarded as licentiousness and evil. Again the blame for all this is cast upon women, whom men desire to dominate, oppress, or even beat.

Continued in Part 3

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