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"Dear Reader" from the Perspective of the Hijab

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 

Dear Reader,

I am an act of obedience. I stand for modesty. I am known to most women as a shield. For I protect women from the evil wandering eyes of men. To believing women, my purpose is to "safeguard their bodies and cover their private parts as a manifestation of the order of Allah. . . [I] am an act of righteousness. . . of belief" ("The Virtues").

"[I] screen against the desires of the heart. . . This is why the heart is more pure when the sight is blocked by [me, the hijab, or veil], and thus the prevention of evil actions is every much manifested. I cut off the ill thoughts and the greed of the sick hearts" ("The Virtues).

I stand for purity.

I liberate those who wish to be liberated. With me, you are appreciated for who you are as a person, as a human being, and not as an object. I protect you from being sexualized. With me, you do not need to worry about thoughts of how you look, but focus on enhancing a greater character and personality. I am the sign of proud Muslim woman.

The idea of me came from the Qur'an, that of which the great Allah wrote himself through the words of the angel Gabriel. I came to be from the passage in the Qur'an which states:

"Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their chastity; that is purer for them. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their chastity, and not to make a display of their beauty except what is apparent, and let them cast a cover over their bosoms. . . And turn to Allah altogether, O believer, in order that you might succeed (Koran 24:30-31)" (qtd. in Asadi).

In the book of the Qur'an, Allah speaks about the treatment of women. He speaks of how men should treat their wives, and what should happen if they misbehave. From this book, religious men study and learn how to become good followers.

A good woman is to be obedient, guarding their chastity when their husbands are away. Men are to protect their women, and if they are to disobey, they should do three things; step one is to first talk to them, step two is to leave them alone in their beds, and step three is to hit them (Asadi). But, to hit does not mean to beat. This is where a lot of men abuse their power, for a hit means just that, one hit. Many men take advantage of this passage and hit their wives to a point in which it is abuse, breaking their moral values of protecting their women. From this I can not protect. I wish that a shield could be strong enough to withstand the blows from hitting the women that wear me with pride.

The Qur'an also states how Muslim women and men are to act in relation to each other. For instance, "Muslim women are responsible for and in charge of Muslim men with regards to the observance and defense of moral values in the society; just as Muslim men are responsible for and in charge of Muslim women with regard to the societal collective soundness and development" (Concepts, 890). In other words women are to make sure that their men are following the rules of the Qur'an when it comes to their moral values in society. While a man's responsibility is to make sure that women do what they are expected to do, and act how they are expected to act in society.

Up above, I gave to the reader a brief background into the world of the Muslim religion. With these few things in mind, the reader can now have a better understanding of the author's project.

But, before I let you go on to the readings and put forth here by the author, there are a few things that I would like to say in defense of myself. First of all, I am not something that represses women, but instead I liberate them by having the women that wear me focus on becoming better people on the inside. Most people on the western side see Muslim women as repressed but let me tell you they are not repressed! Actually, they are quite the opposite! For a Muslim women who wears me does not have to worry about their physical appearance, they do not need to worry about if their hairstyle is with the trend, or is their clothes they are wearing are the hippest thing on the runway. I assume that this is what most women from the western side of the world do, am I correct? What seems to be ironic is that what you think of Muslim women in the east is exactly the same thing they think about women from the West. If you were to ask me, any society that dictates by the rules from the west, well, surely it is they who are chained and subjugated to ta male ideal of what is said to be the perfect woman (Rahman).

Though I'll let you go onto this project now, here you will find 8 multigenre pieces, each with a different point of view to prove the thesis that Firdaus' uncle was nothing more than a typical man of his class. He was not cruel to Firdaus, but quite the opposite, he was one of the nicest people in her life, with many positive influences.

The Hijab (or Muslim Veil)

(From Marilyn Romero's Multigenre Research Project, English 1B, Spring 2008.) 

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