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         From: Nawaz <nawaz_chillizone@xxxxxxxxx>

         Date: Sat, 01 Sep 2007 11:56:03 -0700


Hi Folks

The Matter that concerns women is that of physical exposure of their
bodies (Hijab). It is a very sensitive issue as most of people are
quite emotional about this subject. The Muslim clergy feels that women
should stay inside (the walls of the house); and if they go out, then
they should look like walking tents! This has been taken for granted
so much so that the clergy does not even feel that it has to quote any
authority in this regard! Allah (God Almighty) when talking about Jews
and Christians had described that they have made their priests and
mystics God short of the real God. Exactly the same situation has
prevailed in our society for generations. Whatever the Clergy says it
becomes the word of God. Allah had asked Prophet Mohammed peace be
upon him in the verse (66:1): Why have you forbidden for yourself what
is made permissible by Allah Almighty.

But, most of the Muslim priests and mystics consider themselves as if
they have the license to declare whatever they think is permissible,
even though it may not be allowed by Allah, and forbid what He may
have allowed. In this regard their first target is the woman. They
want to tie her down and confiscate her God given freedom. The VEIL
(Hijab) is one of the most drastic of these restrictions. The Hijab
and the associated restrictions put on the women on this pretext,
restrains them from participating fully in all walks of life; whereas
Allah Almighty has not made any such restrictions. To understand the
background for Quranic laws, it is important to see the social and
civil level of the society which Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him
(Messenger of God) addressed at the time of the revelation of the Holy

* To subdue the voice (not to shout) when talking - (31:19)
* And do not treat people with contempt - (31:18)
* In a gathering one should sit in a way to make room for others and
when (gathering is finished) one should move away.
* When entering any one's house, one must take permission - (24:27)
* If you want to take anything from others, you must ask for it from
outside - (33:53)
* If Prophet of God invites you for a meal, do not go to His house
while the food is still being prepared nor keep sitting talking after
eating for long periods. This embarrasses the host - (33:53)

Such statements indicate the social and cultural crudeness of the
society. This was the society that had to be educated and trained,
elevating it to a civilized level. On the other hand, in Medina, there
was a big population of non-Muslims. These were trouble makers and
used to tease women. When questioned they used to claim that had they
known that these were Muslim women, they would not have teased them.
Therefore, in Holy Quran (Surah 33 Verse 59) Allah Almighty has told
Prophet Muhammad to tell your wives, daughters and other Momin women
to wear their Jalbab (over-all, apron upon a loose cloth over your
clothes), so that they could be recognized and not be disturbed. The
next verse says that if they still continue to tease the women, treat
them like criminals (33:60). It is clear, therefore, that the reason
of wearing Jalbab & exercise true nature of Hijab is that they could
be recognized as a Muslim entity and nothing more. The explicit nature
of the verse (33:59) indicates that the injunctions of the Holy Quran
regarding the precautions required of Muslim women while they go out
were only applicable in those peculiar circumstances of that society.
They were not forever nor unchangeable. The prime importance should be
given to the spirit of the Quranic Laws. They are not changeable, but
how to apply them will vary from time to time, place to place. For
example, the reasons for going to war, in principle, are permanent and
unchangeable, but how will it be fought including methods, tools, etc.
will change from time to time. Once this concept is understood, the
need for these apparent restrictions can be understood. In other
words, the Jalbab is more of a uniform for identification rather the
anything else. In a predominantly Muslim Society, this will not be
necessary as most of the women will be Muslim and everyone would know
that. The Holy Quran has not required anyone to cover the face nor the
head/ hair traditional form of "Hijab". However, it has required
decent clothing and the covering of the bosoms (Surah 24:31) and has
asked the women not to show themselves off (33:33). Similarly,
confining women to their homes is only allowed as a punishment for
obscenity and abomination (4:15). Thus, to expect half of the humanity
to be punished by confining them to their homes for no crime is an
injustice which has no sane reason.

Take Care



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