By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
30 August 2016
Recognition is by Codes of Conduct and
Not by Person’s Modes of Dress
People obsessed with emphasizing their
identities of belonging to a particular ethnicity, culture, and religion, adopt
peculiar stances of appearance and modes of dress as tags of being ‘different’
to the others. This difference is often used to establish that they are
superior in some aspects of culture and civilisation and religious piety in
The twelfth century scholar Moses
Maimonides of Cordova, called the second Moses, the greatest Jewish
philosopher, but considered by some as heretic, had referred to such outwardly
religious stance as “glamour” of appearance.
God is not a fashion designer and milliner,
else Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden would have donned His designer labelled
dress and headgear, instead of wearing a giant fig-leaf each to ‘hide their
shame’. Nor is He one who orders people to dress up in particular mode of
apparel to enter His kingdom. It is not a ‘clubhouse’ that requires a necktie
as its “code of dress” to gain entry. A nineteen century brave comedian wearing
ONLY a necktie tried to enter such an exclusive clubhouse, but was thrown out
ignominiously for his efforts!
When such glamour requirement of appearance
is taken to extremes and projected as being the best vis a vis the others,
inevitably leads to confrontation. It makes the others, particularly when they
are the majority in the country, feel belittled by the minority newcomers when
their mode is presented as superior; as is the case now in the West with
Muslims immigrants who, in their God’s name don the mode of dress that some
people of the country find alien and “confronting”.
It should not be a surprise. To them the
briefest three pieces of triangles worn as Bikini; the fig- leaf syndrome which
after all was acceptable to God in the Garden of Eden is now acceptable on the
beaches and public swimming pools in this world as a norm. In addition it is
accepted as beneficial for maximum absorption of vitamin ‘D’. Though, it is
never claimed as religious garment.
The full face balaclava ala Burqa is the
exact opposite. No amount of softening the impact with Burkini; the open-face
cover-all wet-suit is acceptable in host countries such as France, where it was
banned; but the top Court there has now initially suspended the ban.
But Monsieur, why are you offended by the
Burkini when its wearer is not, even when surrounded by the wearers of briefest
of Bikinis? And when the country has accepted the migrants to live in there;
surely the same rights should apply to them too, to wear whatever they wish. Is
your dislike of it because it is touted as “Islamic” by some? Sir, rest assured
it is not.
This is a double edged sword. Did the
authorities there not know what the newcomers’ culture or religious beliefs
are? Or were the migrants unaware of the host countries’ culture, where they
came willingly to live-in?
Then often some events cause heightened
agitation in the society. For example the referendum recently on ‘Brexit’ in
the UK is given as the reason for increased negative sentiments. It is reported
that there is a spike in racial hatred- Islamophobia in particular; immediately
after the result of the referendum was announced.
The spike may have other reasons but some
are obvious ones. The unfortunate thing is that this phobia stirs the dormant
negativity among some and it affects other minorities in turn, as is shown by
this link and by a comment in it:
“…On a train I noticed a lad and his
girlfriend looking at me and my bag, which was on my lap. When they spotted me
looking back at them, he told me to “f…”off back to Israel with the other
Then also, few ignorant but savvy media
hugging professionals among the minorities, in the name of their religions and
donning glamour-garbs stand out in confrontationist manner to demand special
treatment for themselves in the safety of a law abiding country. Were the same
demands made in their home countries whence they escaped, they would have gone
to the gallows!
However the Book– the Quran -they profess
to follow for Islamic Codes, directs them in their conduct towards others -reward
goodness with goodness, 55-60.
But the Book also condemns the
‘extravagance ‘of display– glamour of appearance - of all kinds, be it the
dress mode, modesty or the put-up piety for the purpose of showiness. Reference
verse 107-6, along with 2-264 and 4-142:
107-6: those who want to be seen by
107-7: yet refrain from consideration to
neighbours in their neighbourly acts!
In the specific ordinance of dress code
given in the Book it asks for nothing more than commonsense, modest and upright
moral conduct, both for men and women. It does not shy away from the
fact that the male/female physical attraction exists as a law of nature and
therefore both should conduct themselves appropriately. The obligation is a
24-30: Say to the believing men
that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty that will be for
their greater purity for them…
24-31: And say to the believing women
that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty, that they should not
display their beauty and adornments except what must ordinarily appear; that
they should draw their scarf over their bosoms… Note- NOT over the
head as was and is today the custom and requirement of many cultures and
religions of the world!
Compare the following to the lopsided
responsibility thrust upon the Muslim female by the all-male dominated
religious brigade, to cover her from head to foot like a ghost in the customary
black, as her religious obligation to protect the male’s purity from ‘evil
thoughts’! The full face cover to make her lose her ‘personal identity’ that
establishes her as an equal human individual.
In the Book this ignominy is given as a
punishment for the evil doers, both for men and women! Is the Muslim
woman predestined to be evildoer?
To compound the felony, many Muslim women
willingly accept this religious non-Quranic command as being their religious
duty in Islam! Are they aware that it is non-Quranic hence not Islamic?
Ah, but then what about the churches’
requirements, topped up by the Freedom of expression in a Free country? Vive la
bagatelle- long live folly; or something to that effect!
10-26, exempts men and women who do the
right thing,10-27 warns those who do wrong, with humiliating punishment. The
verse is here quoted verbatim from the popular Y. Ali’s translation of Quran:
10-27: But those who have earned
Evil will have a reward
Of like evil: ignominy
Will cover their (faces):
No defender will they have
From (the wroth of) God:
Their faces will be covered,
As it were, with pieces
From the depth of darkness
Of night: they are companions
Of the Fire: they will Abide therein
A parody of a poet’s line is appropriate
here. For, which is given as punishment in the Book, with religious magic gives
the illusion of holy reward for females only!
چیز کو گویا حلال کرتے ھیں!
As though they turn the ‘forbidden’
Haram thing into the ‘allowed ‘Halal!
But then what about that freedom of
expression for Eve who wants to walk in the Garden of Eden like a ghost in
Burqa, swim in Burkini or sunbathe in briefest of bikini?
A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer
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