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That’s Why I Wear the Hijab

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There is no one answer why a woman will choose to wear a hijab, but her reasons are based on spirituality, a sense of control over her philosophical and ideological beliefs.

Montreal- As a young Muslim woman, Nadia Naqvi wears a traditional head scarf every day.

“I made the decision to put this on after the Christmas break when I turned 15,” Naqvi said.

“I’m 32 now and I have been wearing a hijab more than half of my life.”

Despite what politicians and others promoting the proposed charter of secularism, Bill 60, claim, Naqvi said she is not the product of a society that makes women second-class citizens and dictates that they must cover their hair.

“If you get to know me you will see that I am not oppressed and I am not stupid,” said Naqvi, currently on maternity leave from her teaching job at Beaconsfield High School.

World Hijab Day was marked Saturday afternoon in a Concordia building with a seminar, panel discussions and presentations by highly articulate women as a way to spread awareness about religious head covering.

This event was started in New York last year and has spread to more than 50 countries. This marked Montreal’s first participation.

The issue is timely with all the negativity and furor surrounding Bill 60.

Gwenda Wells, an Anglican minister, came to the meeting as an act of solidarity with the Muslim women.

“If Bill 60 — banning allegedly ostentatious religious symbols and clothing for those in the public sector — is passed, jobs in education, health and childcare will be lost to women, and all of these are valuable and life-affirming jobs,” Wells said.

A Choice of Her Own

Farida Mohamed, gave a lively history of the hijab and pointed out that the role of the head scarf is constantly changing.

“There are young Muslim women out there who want to wear tight clothes and yet cover their hair so the hijab is evolving,” Mohamed said.

Naqvi said there is no one answer why a woman will chose to wear a hijab, but her reasons are based on spirituality, a sense of control over her philosophical and ideological beliefs and the role models her parents set.

“I have seen the discrimination that this brings, particularly after Sept. 11,” she said of the rough ride given to Muslims after Islamic terrorists brought down the Twin Towers.

“I was looking for a part-time job then and I did well in a phone interview for a department store but when the manager saw me I was told the job was filled. I was once called ‘les sauvages’ when I was with my family in Walmart.

“I wear my hijab for the strength to rise above racism and misogyny,” Naqvi said.

“When I walk into my classroom my kids see me and not the hijab.”

The mother of three, whose family emigrated to Canada in the 1970s, added her thoughts to a presentation made by the Lester B. Pearson School Board against the adoption of the contentious bill.

“I wrote that children see people and adults see religion.”

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Source: montrealgazette.com

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Hijab Story

By Tara Dahane

I want to share my story about my journey to wear hijab in the hope that some aspiring sisters will glean strength from it. Sisters, you can do it! Just keep in mind that you need to please Almighty Allah before you please anybody.

I converted to Islam in May 1996 after having been reading about it for almost 6 years. I have never regretted it only wish that I had took shahadah sooner. I did not wear hijab at first, only to wear to the mosque and during prayer times. I was aware that the condition of being a Muslimah required covering modestly yet I couldn’t act on it because of my fear of other people. I was afraid of how they would treat me such as looking upon me in pity, in utter disgust, or just plain hatred.

Actually my first bad encounter with hijab happened with my sister. She picked me up from the mosque one day and when I got inside the car she told me to “take that “s***” off my head” I am so glad that the people standing out in front of the mosque and especially my hubby did NOT hear what she said. Needless to say, I refused to take off my hijab until I got home.

Over the next three years my faith would increase gradually as I pursued knowledge in Islam more. In 1999 my faith was even stronger than the preceding years so much so that the hijab issue began to trouble me. It worried me so much because I actually thought of myself as “sinning” I had a choice to make, who was I supposed to be afraid of Allah or other people? Of course Allah is number one so my next step was the issue between head covering and face covering. I researched the Qur’an, Hadith, articles, and spoke with other sisters who wore hijab, even to the brothers. My conclusion was based on the fact that yes hijab is obligatory based on two verses in the Qur’an, Al-Ahzab 33:59 and An-Nur 24:30-31, as well as the hadith of Asma (may Allah be pleased with her) the daughter of Abu Bakr came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) while wearing thin clothing. He approached her and said: “O Asma! When a girl reaches the menstrual age, it is not proper that anything should remain exposed except this and this.” And he pointed to the face and hands. I believe face veiling is optional as you are striving to emulate the Mothers of the Believers who by the way were special and no one can ever be like them. I believe that
there is no sin for not wearing the face veil but rather it is a symbol of more modesty and a higher reward.

Armed with this I planned to wear my hijab in to work the first day of Ramadan. I had even laid out my veil and pins the night before so I didn’t have the excuse of “forgetting” to wear it. Once I arrived at work I became more nervous because there were people looking at me in the parking lot already! With each step I got closer and closer to the building where I worked and strangely more and more calm. Until I was on the elevator and in my office in no time. I breathed a sigh of relief that I hadn’t run into anyone in the halls though. And my did I have a surprise waiting for me. Each co-worker that passed me by just treated me like they always did on a normal day. One even remarked that my veil was beautiful and at least two asked me if it was a special occasion (I had to laugh at that one). At the end of the day, I couldn’t believe that I had worked myself up about nothing all of these years!

It was truly a success to wear hijab and I feel beautiful because I am doing a thing that pleases Almighty Allah I even get more respect when I am out. I don’t care what people think anymore. If I find them staring at me I look back and smile. I am more often than not surprised to see them smiling back at me. For the ones that consider me a source of amusement, the feeling is mutual!

I recommend this book on hijab: “Dearest sister: why not cover your modesty” by Abdul Hameed Al-Balali translated by Wael F Tabba That’s all folks! Tara.

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Source: www.islamfortoday.com

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Women’s Rights and Status in Islam

Women’s rights, responsibilities, and choices have been the subject of books, articles, essays, and lectures. Sadly however, convincing the world that Muslim women are not oppressed by Islam is a message that is just not getting through.

Women’s rights

Islam raised the level of women, they were no longer chattels being passed from father to husband.

Media headlines scream oppression and the words Muslim, women, and oppression seem to have become inextricably linked. Fourteen hundred years ago Islam gave women’s rights; rights that could not have been imagined by European counterparts. Bold words!

It’s the words that have been spoken repeatedly, especially in the last two or three decades by Muslim converts, and Islamic writers, academics and educators across the globe.

No matter what Muslim women do or say to try to convince the world otherwise, words like hijab (veil), burqa, polygamy, and Shari`ah (Islamic Law) seem to do little but convince people that Islam oppresses women. Even educated, articulate women fulfilling the modest conditions of hijab can do little to dispel the myths.

Women who conduct themselves with decorum and grace and function effortlessly in the modern world have their achievements and successes celebrated. However, if a woman wears a scarf that covers her hair or puts her religion above worldly pursuits she is immediately labeled oppressed.

One wonders if this is the case for women of other religious persuasions. Are modest religious women of all faiths labeled oppressed? Alternatively, is it just Islam?

The most visible sign of a Muslim woman’s faith is the headscarf or hijab; it is also the garment that leads people to believe that Islam oppresses women. Although Islamic scholars unanimously agree that modest dress and head coverings are obligatory in Islam, for the majority of Muslim women around the world, to cover, or not to cover, is a freely made choice.

The women who chose to wear hijab view it as a right, not a burden and many describe wearing hijab as liberation from the need to conform to unrealistic stereotypes and images dictated by the media.

Against Oppression

What exactly do Muslim women say about themselves in relation to the issue of oppression? In 2005, a World Gallup Organization Poll, entitled ‘What women Want’:

‘Listening to the voices of Muslim Woman, revealed that the majority of women polled, in predominantly Muslim countries resented lack of unity among Muslim nations, violent extremism, and political and economic corruption. The headscarf or hijab, or any garment covering the face and body, often depicted as a tool of oppression was not even mentioned.’

The report concluded that ’…most women in the Muslim world are well aware that they have the same capabilities and deserve the same fundamental rights as men.  Majorities of females in each of the eight countries surveyed said they believe women are able to make their own voting decisions, to work at any job for which they are qualified, and even to serve in the highest levels of government.’

Islam raised the level of women, they were no longer chattels being passed from father to husband. They became equal to men, with rights and responsibilities that take into account the nature of humankind. Unfortunately across the globe, Muslim women are victims of cultural aberrations that have no place in Islam. Powerful individuals and groups claim to be Muslim yet fail to practice the true principles of Islam.

Whenever the media reveals unconscionable stories about honour killings, genital mutilation, forced marriage, the punishment of rape victims, women being confined to their homes or women being denied education they are revealing a tale of men and women who are ignorant about the status of women in Islam.

O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the bridal money you have given them. And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and God brings a great deal of good through it. (An-Nisaa’ 4:19)

Honoring-women Religion

women's rights

The women who chose to wear hijab view it as a right, not a burden.

The religion of Islam demands that women be treated with respect, honour, and justice. It condemns oppression of any kind. In Islam women, like men, are commanded to believe in God and to worship Him. Women are equal to men in terms of reward in the Hereafter.

And whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a true believer in the Oneness of God, such will enter paradise; and not the least injustice, even to the size of a speck on the back of a date stone, will be done to them. (An-Nisaa’ 4:124)

Women in Islam have the right to own property, to control their own money to buy and sell, and to give gifts and charity. It is not permissible for anyone to take a woman’s wealth without her consent. Islam gave women’s formal rights of inheritance. Women in Islam have the right to an education; seeking and acquiring knowledge is an obligation on all Muslims, male or female.

Muslim women have the right to accept or refuse marriage proposals as they see fit, and married women are completely free from the obligation of supporting and maintaining the family. Working married women are free to contribute to the household expenses, or not, as they see fit. Women have the right to seek divorce if it becomes necessary.

The Prophet &  Women’s rights

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission.” The people asked: “O God’s messenger!  How can we know her permission?” He said: “Her silence (indicates her permission).” (Al-Bukhari)

A women was given by her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she went to God’s Messenger and he declared that marriage invalid. (Al-Bukhari)

The religion of Islam declares that women are worthy human beings deserving of respect, and the right to be free from oppression. Women have the right to a decent life, without facing aggression or abuse of any kind. They have the right to pursue a life that is pleasing to them within Islamic boundaries. Nobody has the right to force women to be less then they want to be. The true teachings of Islam, declare that women should be held in a position of high regard.

Sadly, it is true that some Muslim women are oppressed, but across the globe, some women are treated badly by some men, of all religious persuasions and ethnicities. It is possible to say that such and such a government oppresses women, or that Muslim men in such and such a country think it is acceptable to beat women, however, it is not correct to say that Islam oppresses women.

If women were given their God given rights, as set out in the religion of Islam, the global oppression of women could be trampled into oblivion.

Prophet Muhammad said: “None but a noble man treats women in an honourable manner. And none but an ignoble treats women disgracefully.” (At-Tirmidhi)

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Source: islamreligion.com

 

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