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(The author of this article is the Editor in Chief of Al-Balaagh, a bi-monthly published from Lenasia, South Africa. He is a widely known Muslim scholar, writer, author, and journalist. In August 2001 he received an Award of Honor for his 50 years of extraordinary service in the cause of Islam. He has written more than 30,000 letters in 50 years at the rate of 3 to 5 letters a night - to various people around the world, answering their queries, or thanking them for something).


You have seen the 'CASPER THE GHOST', or Ku Klux Klan or NINJA type of picture of a Muslim woman. There are Muslim women-the Mujaahideen women in Iran with rifles in hand who do not wear the NINJA type of dress. To the NINJA dressed Muslim woman her face is more important; to the others giving their lives for Islam is paramount!  These brave ladies are emulating their sisters during the battles in our Nabi's (SAS) time-who carried water to the wounded and dying, pulled out arrows from the bodies of the fallen, nursed them, and even fought against the enemies!  And they didn't cover their faces like the Ninjas or Ku Klux Klan! -Nor did the Prophet (SAS) ever asked them to do so!

 The practice of covering the face completely except for the eyes originated in Zoroastrian Persia of old where the patrician (aristocratic) women wore the purdah in order to distinguish themselves from the plebeian (of lower social class) women. This Zoroastrian CUSTOM has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the Shari'ah of Islam!


Let us visualize the ludicrous situation to which purdah can lend itself.  Here's a profitable possibility that can be merrily exploited by the ever-scheming "stronger sex": A man can freely, joyfully, and with perfect composure and relaxation, associate with his paramour by donning the purdah (burqa) and going out with her everywhere in public, undetected and with impunity.  He can triumphantly thumb his nose at society from inside the purdah, because NOBODY can lift the veil on his surreptitious escapade!


The public will not bat an eyelid, never suspect, and take it for granted that two WOMEN wearing the purdah are going about their normal, legitimate business.  But the man hidden in the fortress of the purdah has other "business" in mind!


One more point: Covering the countenance will frustrate man's desire to look at a woman's face.  But what about the WOMAN   wearing the purdah?  SHE can ogle at men from behind the veil!  What's there to restrain HER  from nibbling at men with her eyes? Where, then is the meaning or significance of purdah?

TRUE   purdah is of the heart, the eyes, and thoughts! A woman may cover her face, but her heart is evil, and her tongue full of malicious FITNAH and GOSSIP! (And do not forget that VEIL is the anagram of EVIL!!) What, the, is the use of covering the face? Our Nabi (SAS) maintained most emphatically that: "Verily, Allah does NOT look at your faces (whether veiled, unveiled, bearded or clean-shaven), nor at your wealth; but HE certainly looks at your HEARTS (how clean they are!) and at your DEEDS!"




When Persia was conquered by Muslims, and the Zoroastrians (Fire-worshippers) accepted Islam, they brought their mores and customs into Islam-just as when the Hindus of India became Muslims, they incorporated all their Hindu traditions into Islam, e.g. observing "Chaaleeswa" (40 days) after someone dies, etc.


Instead of forcing women to cover their faces, the mullahs should embark on a concerted campaign to compel MEN to wear purdah!! This is because it is the men who mostly harbor evil thoughts.  Women have much more cleaner minds than men. Some men are the real rascals! In spite of all the external paraphernalia of "piety"-topi, beard, that long, maxi, woman's kurta, tasbeeh in hand, etc., - Muslims KNOW a number of them to be involved in wicked operations (secret merchants of hard porn, hijacking trucks, stealing containers, etc.,) And yet the mullahs want to slap the Taliban-type of purdah on the poor, innocent women!




It is about time that the oppressed woman of Islam shattered the shackles of male oppression and released herself from the enervating bondage imposed on her by the mullahs!  She must emulate her Lucknow sisters and send out a clear, unmistakable message, and programme of things to come.


For centuries the Muslim woman has lain supine.  NOW is the time for her to stand UP and say: "Enough is enough!"  She must recalcitrantly refuse to take things LYING DOWN… and assiduously assert the rights vouchsafed to her by Allah (SWT) and Rasool (SAS).  The time for "sweet talk" is long over.  The time for ACTION has now come!


Women of Islam, UNITE! You have NOTHING to lose except your chains! And Allah (SWT) and Rasool (SAS) will most certainly help you BREAK those chains, Insha'Allah.


It may or may not be nearer the truth, but a wise man has sagaciously suggested that only TWO types of women could possibly wear this ridiculous, preposterous, risibility-tickling, alien-looking Ninja-purdah: "The very OLD, and the very UGLY."


                        Courtesy, AL-BALAAGH of South Africa, p. 7, NOV/DEC 1997

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