clerics criticise Shabana stand on veils - The Asian Age, Oct. 30, Ď06
The clergy and the intelligentsia in India
have caught on to the controversy that got kickstarted in Britain over actress
Shabana Azmiís statement that the Quran does not make it mandatory for a woman
to cover her face.
While in London to receive the Gandhi
Foundationís International Peace Award, Ms Azmi had called for a debate on
Muslim women wearing the veil, saying the Quran speaks about women wearing
clothes to cover their modesty and that they need not cover their faces.
scholars are all unanimous that in all the dos and doníts in the Quran, each is
accompanied by a punishment. But in the case of hijab, no such punishment has
been mentioned. It only makes it clear that hijab is something wholly voluntary
and not mandatory. In countries
like Iran, women dress normally but cover their heads with scarves, leaving the
face uncovered. The veil or purdah is also seen more as an influence of the
Rajput women in India, who covered their faces completely.
All-India Muslim Personal Law Board
secretary Syed Qasim Rasool Illyasi said, "If Ms Shabana Azmi says that the face
need not be covered, then she should accept the other injunction of the Quran
that the body must properly be covered."
Mr Illyasi felt that the entire veil
controversy was meaningless and irrelevant. "Why is their no controversy when
Christian nuns cover their body, leaving only their faces visible?" he asked.
The Quran has laid down instructions for purdah, but there were two opinions on
whether the face should be entirely covered. "As far as the
Quran is concerned, there is no dispute that the body should be properly
covered," he said. In a democracy, he said, it was best left to the individual
to decide about his or her dress code, he said.
Most of the maulanas were angry at the
controversy and sharply reacted, saying that it was fashion of sorts for some
Indian Muslims to criticise the teachings of the Quran and the Hadees. Some
Muslims in the country think they will be considered modern only when they
criticise the Quran and Hadees, they said. In a statement in Lucknow, Tilewali
Masjid Imam Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahali said, "The Quran has clearly
instructed that women should put on veils." Imam Firangimahali said this did not
mean that they should not go to college or work and remain confined to their
homes. However, reacting to Mr Jack Strawís statement that Muslim women should
not wear veils was tantamount to a violation of their fundamental rights, he
* * *