WHY ARE PEOPLE MORE WORRIED ABOUT THE PIECE OF FABRIC ON MY HEAD THAN WHAT’S INSIDE IT?
‘‘Hijab is not a barrier between you and the people. It is a barrier between you and the evil of the people.’’ - Ibn Taymiyyah ( May Allah have mercy on him )
Hijab is an Islamic concept of modesty and privacy, a concept which is not unique to Islam but embraced by various religions namely Judaism and Christianity. Many verses of Quran offer insight into hijab and relevant ideas about modesty, respect and privacy. It is first, and foremost, an act of worship among Muslim women.
It is so disgusting that when we talk about liberty and freedom especially in context of women we only relate it to the modern clothing. What my concern is to this point is that why can’t we consider women with hijab to be liberated and free. Why is that even in 21st century it’s only the fabric on my head that catches your attention and not what’s inside it. Hijab is only visible expression of religious conviction and it does not make any sense to question someone’s abilities just because the person is dressed a certain way. Why is it that being a member of multicultural society where everyone has so called equal status hijabis are still looked down. To sum up my concerns why is it that we have to prove every single time that we are more than stereotypical notion in your head. Even when we have got so many legislation on the so called religious liberty why is that to strictly adhere by one’s faith is the only elephant in the room that we still need to talk about. Why it is that celebration of the diversity has become all the more difficult and it has become the norm to impose the same idea of liberty and equality on every single person out there. In a world where we talk about civil liberties, imposing any such restriction would be an attack on the same. Why is it that there is not more room for certain kinds of people. All I question is that for some of you hijab might be restriction but for some it can be homecoming, so there is a need to look beyond the same.
Reflecting into the cause of hijab being such an irritant, the biggest reason for the same is that hijab ‘‘oppresses’’ women. Now looking into the dictionary meaning of the word oppression; it means the prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or exercise of authority leading to the taking away of someone’s power. For a Muslim women a scrap of cloth that has the sole purpose to cover and to show her conviction to her faith, such opinion are baseless and come from the mind of the people of incorrigible attitudes who think that source of a woman’s power is her body, and not her mind. Such is the irony that these people are the so called feminists who stand up for the rights of the women but at the same time find it worthwhile to impose their whimsical ideas on a particular section of women in the name of freedom and rescue. The prominence on the fact of the unique being of an individual is the salt of his/her life and can be said that denial of self expression is an invitation to death, meaning thereby one defines oneself and that is the glorious form of individuality. The sheer realities of the modern developing society is that irrespective of the circumstances every individual is liberated from the shackles of such bondages that does not even exist. The first step on the long path to acceptance of the diversity and variegated hues that exist in the society. The danger which threatens human nature is not the excess, but the deficiency of personal impulses and preferences. Going back in the history it’s not a novel practice but the controversy over the hijab was ignited in France on 18 September 1989, while three of the female students were suspended by not accepting the instruction for the removal of their scarves in class in Creil. The educational institution is to be considered as a sacred boundary where everyone has to be treated alike then how come educators had the right to diffrentiate and not respect the principle of security in public schools. Then came a series of legislation such as The Veil Law which forbids the wearing of ‘‘ostentatious’’ religious articles, including Islamic veil, jewish Kippa and large Christian crosses and thus banned the overt religious symbols. To say the least back home to some voices have been raised citing security concerns, such as tone and tenor of the arguments made by Shivsena revolves around the same. The Kerala Muslim Education Society that runs 150 colleges and institutions has also banned any attire that covers the face. Globally, many countries have passed laws that prohibit full face veils.
It is so discouraging that while living in 21st century one has to follow the norms set by the society and the practice of one’s free will and volition is looked down as being a practice derogatory to women.
 Available at https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/hijab/print/
~ KHADIJA FATMA
Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
LL. M (final year)