Time, people, culture, society, and the environment we are surrounded by, can produce the particular formation of many perspectives regarding a problem that we see in today’s society. One of many controversial topics is Islam and the Hijab. Many questions and generalisations are often formed in the minds of numerous non-Muslims in regards to the concepts behind the particular Hijab through the influence of the mass media.
Throughout the years of conflict between the “West” and “Islam”, the media has strongly altered the minds of non-Muslims by negative exploitation associated with Islam, and Muslims, in particular upon Muslim women. Misconceptions such as, “Are you bald underneath” “Do you visit sleep with that on? ” towards the association of “terrorism” that clashes to what Muslim women believe the Hijab represents.
A common misconception will be “the Islamic Hijab is some thing cultural, not religious”. The use of the term “cultural” is faulty when describing the Hijab as it implies that it is a result of customs and practices that are something separate from Islam. The cultural dress is referred to the particular ancient Pre-Islamic Era (Jahiliyah). It is the veil from the Pre-Islamic Era that is considered as “traditional” which stops ladies from contributing in society. On the other hand, the Islamic Hijab is not regarded as an informal tradition, nor does it lower her self-respect. The Hijab is aimed at presenting women with poise and equality in society. A good example of Pre-Islamic era in our modern planet is the Taliban in Afghanistan. The particular Taliban are a party who regard such activities un-Islamic for women, who are prohibited from exercising their primary rights. The Taliban have banned ladies from employment outside the home, in addition to the health sector, and have terminated education for girls.
Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) stated, “Seeking knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim”. Even Henry VIII forbid women to study the Scriptures when the first English translations started to appear. It’s an irony even though the Taliban claim their guiding beliefs on women are in place to assure the physical protection and self-respect of women, where as, many Afghan women have been killed, beaten and publicly hung. For many Afghan women fear of being severely punished by the Taliban is their main security worry.
Another misconception is “Muslim ladies have no right in Islam”. Islam gave women rights over 1400 years ago, which is still ignored by many Muslims and non-Muslims today. Firstly, Islam has given women the basic right to freedom of speech. In the beginning of Islam, the leaders from the Islamic state regarding legal issues conferred with women. Rights that were appointed to Muslim women since the beginning of time are only just surfacing for non-Muslims. In Islam, a woman is free to be whom she is inside, plus protected from being portrayed being a sex symbol and lusted right after. Islam praises the status of a woman by commanding that the girl “enjoys equal rights to those of man in everything, she stands on an equal footing with man” (Qur’an, Nadvi: 11) and each share mutual rights and obligations in all aspects of life.
Many women are treated in ways far from Islamic values, yet in the name of Islam. The Taliban is an example of a cultural and political name that has been branded with Islam.
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There is no freedom for women if they happen to be imprisoned in their home in the name of the particular Hijab and Islam. Moreover, the particular veil of Islam is not associated with the veil of oppression.
Women that are regaining their identity and part in society, are now wearing the Hijab and are embracing its idea of liberation. They are taking their legitimate places that Islam had granted them fourteen hundred years ago. Actually the western women had no rights nor did they have legal rights over their husband. Not only were woman the property of their husband yet so were their possessions. In 1919 women in England fought for rights to be elected to parliament. Because of their demands, they were imprisoned by government and suffered greatly. It was not until the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when females were given these rights.