Islam came to liberate and not to oppress!

Dear Messenger,

I am writing in response to issues raised by readers with regards to the veil in reply to my letter in the November issue (see the December 2006 Dear Messenger…).

One of the strongest points was that of Muslim women reversing the struggles of the Suffragettes. An element of ignorance of Islam is detected here. Muslim women cannot be accused of jeopardizing the rights of women. One of the main fundamental principles of Islam is and was to emancipate women from the oppression experienced by them in Pre-Islamic Arabia. Islam and our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came at a time when women were considered no more than chattel, where female infanticide was at its peak. However, it was Islam that gave women the right to LIVE, to own property, to inherit, to own businesses and express their views politically.

This was over 1400 years ago, around 600 A.D. If the Suffragettes fought in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s – what on earth would have been the state and position of women in 600 A.D.? Islam came to liberate and not to oppress. In short, Muslim women have been able to show their face ‘metaphorically’ for centuries, as for literally, that is a personal choice. It is a different matter that some cultures do not allow women to have that status, but that has nothing to do with Islam, as the proverb goes: ‘judge a religion by its book not by its people!’

Another argument was that in European culture, people cover their faces to engage in illegal activity. I think it is quite easy to differentiate between a criminal violently donned in a balaclava and a woman dressed modestly in her Islamic dress – the former look giving out messages of aggression and brutality and the latter of peace and obedience.

I agree the heart is more important than what is on the outside, however, for the benefit of ourselves and for the rest of society, the clothing is a means of reflecting that light. Someone who has a very pious and pure nature yet dresses in a way that contradicts this will not be given the correct respect in the society. But modest dress gives out strong vibes enabling others to decipher a person’s inner character.

No one should have to remove religious symbols in fear of offending others. I strongly opposed British Airways for dismissing a member of staff for wearing a cross. My message is ‘Live and Let Live.’ I think it is very considerate of Mr Youdan to announce that he avoids eating in the presence of fasting Muslims. If we all began to show such respect for one another’s religions and cultures there would be no need for this argument today.

We are living in an era where religion is slipping rapidly through our fingers like sand, taking with it ethics and morals and leaving behind an insipid secular society. Let us unite and hold on strongly to the grains of sand we have remaining in our hands.

As the reader ‘AM’ so rightly asks in her letter, if a woman was to remove the veil would she suddenly become accepted in mainstream society? Would her headscarf not become the next target? Let us not allow the politicians to dictate to us how we should dress. At this rate we will be left one day with no choice of wardrobe and we’ll be dressed in uniform to please our higher authorities!!

Umm A’tika

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The content on this page was added to the website by Jamie Marriott on 2007-02-02 18:38:33.
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