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Islamic Ideology ( 20 Feb 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Wearing a Niqab or a Veil Is Not a Requirement of Islam




By Tahir Gora

19 Feb, 2015

A federal Judge has turned down former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's Niqab Ban in Citizenship Oath ceremony.

A Mississauga resident, Mrs. Zunera Ishaq, an immigrant from Pakistan challenged the government's policy.

"I decided to raise my voice so that I can challenge this policy, which was a personal attack on me and Muslim women like me," said Zunera to the National Post.

Federal Judge Keith Boswell said that the government's own regulations require citizenship judges to administer the oath with "dignity and solemnity, allowing the greatest possible freedom in the religious solemnization or the solemn affirmation thereof."

But the advocates, including a federal judge, for the right of Muslim women to wear veils ignore one basic reality: This is not about Islamic faith.

If wearing the veil was a faith-oriented right, every Muslim woman should be striving for it. But most Muslim women -- in Islamic countries and in the West -- don't practice this tradition, which was traditionally imposed by Muslim men.

The Quran doesn't require Muslim women to cover their faces. Women in Prophet Muhammad's times were allowed to work with open faces.

Muslims' most sacred pilgrimage known as Hajj in Saudi Arabia doesn't require women to cover their faces. Rather, women are not allowed to cover their faces during the Hajj Pilgrimage.

The vast majority of Muslims think that the traditional veil is clearly a mark of separation, and consider it an element of the fanatical side of Islam.

If the majority of Muslims call the veil tradition an "attempt at separation" (not only in the west but in their own Islamic countries, too), then insistence of putting veil or niqab on faces seems a stubborn part of some community members.

That tiny percentage of stubborn members of Muslim community is reinforcing a wrong perception of Islam on one hand and causing unnecessary tension between government and Muslim community on the other hand, and also between society at large..

There is a need to understand the difference between being separate and being moderate. There is also a need to understand that most Muslim women who don't wear these emblems are still followers of Islam.

The conclusion of this debate should be that wearing a particular item of dress should be a person's choice. But showing yourself -- your identity -- should be a choice made by society.

Also, niqab or veil is not a part of any dress. It's a mask.

If a woman wants to show a hardcore Islamic religious symbol, she can be modest and wear a headscarf in Arabic tradition or Dupata in South Asian tradition.

When a woman puts on a niqab (a head-covering with a slit for the eyes), a burka (a full-body garment that hides the eyes as well) or a face veil, then she must grant society the right to decide whether that is appropriate to wear in public.

That's why Prime Minister Stephan Harper has said rightly, "I believe, and I think most Canadians believe that it is -- it is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family".

It seems obvious that a secular society can't accept citizens concealing their identity.

Tahir Gora is a Canadian-Pakistani and the Director of the Canadian Thinkers’ Forum, a member of the Coalition of Progressive Muslim Canadian Organizations.





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  1. Dear Prakash Patel!

    The world knew that Saddam Hossain had WMDs. He had none. The world knew that the terrorists were Islamic terrorist. Now Barrack Obama declares Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. So, you do not learn by what the world says. 

    Thomas W. Arnold (1864-1930) a distinguished scholar and historian of Islam carried out an extensive research lasting almost two decades to dig into the reasons of the phenomenal spread of Islam in its early centuries, which appeared in his landmark publication, ‘Preaching of Islam’. The following remark in its conclusive chapter states [2]:

    "In the preceding pages it has been shown that the theory of the Muslim faith enjoins toleration and freedom of religious life for all those followers of other faiths who pay tribute in return for protection …, The very existence of so many Christian sects and communities in countries that have been for centuries under Mohammadan rule is an abiding testimony to the toleration they have enjoyed, and shows that the persecutions, they have from time to time been called upon to endure at the hands of bigots and fanatics, have been excited by some special and local circumstances, rather than inspired by a settled principal of intolerance." He also notes: ‘(Caliph) Umar is recorded to have ordered an allowance of money and food to be made to some Christian lepers, apparently out of the public funds [3].

    Take the word of a scholar of international repute, reflect on the survival of the non-Muslims under half a millennium or more of Islamic rule in Egypt, Spain, India, and other mixed societies and then you will realize what everybody says is not the truth - take it or leave it. 
    By muhammad yunus 22/02/2015 06:05:23
  2. If Niqab was not reccomended in Quran, how it came it into existence. The real answer to this may be like this. This is the view point of some one looking at it from other angle. It is a well known fact that Islam was spread over the world at the point of sword and cruelty and it was clear mandate to those fighting the war for spreading Islam, to bring all the young women and children and properties of non-believers of Islam. These people were keeping these women as their wives and that is how they were allowed to keep 4 wives. To hide these women from the sight of society and specially from the sight of non-islamist whose daughters and or wives were taken away. To hide these women from them they needed the veil ... whatever it may be, in the form mentioned in your article. So, those who still insist to make muslim women to wear niquab of any type have something else in mind. 
    By Prakash Patel 21/02/2015 22:43:22
  3. The following article provides Qur'anic basis for this article:

    Muslim women in the non-Muslim / Western world may relax on the symbolic veiling (head-ear-chin cover) and create a socially interactive performance oriented identity as commanded by the Qur’an.,-new-age-islam/muslim-women-in-the-non-muslim-/-western-world-may-relax-on-the-symbolic-veiling-(head-ear-chin-cover)-and-create-a-socially-interactive-performance-oriented-identity-as-commanded-by-the-qur’an/d/101602

    By muhammad yunus 21/02/2015 22:02:35
  4. 10-27:“ But those who have earned evil….Their faces will be covered as it were, with pieces from the depth of the darkness they are companions of the fire……”


    Only the Magicians of religions can turn such simple statement to convince only the female of its species to mask its face as a sign of “purity and piety”, in stead of it being a sign of shaming and ignominy!

    By rs 21/02/2015 19:42:13