Hijab

I have had some unpleasant experiences and not wearing a hijab has played a part in those experiences. From where I was brought up, wearing a hijab was not a priority or rather, I was told that wearing one is compulsory after completing haj (which I haven’t and only see myself doing so way later when I am older). However, as I grow up, I see others my age wearing one and eventually learnt that wearing one is actually deemed mandatory.

So I made an effort to mix around with those who don the hijab to understand things from their perspective (since I was brought up with similar but maybe slightly different teachings). However, during those times that I try, I felt less than welcomed.

It seems that not wearing a hijab has some certain negative connotations like being less pious, less understanding of Islam etc. so I end up having to prove myself a lot more that I do have basic Islamic knowledge and that we share the same practices (fasting, praying, etc.). Though.. I am equally guilty of such a bias, seeing them as lack of understanding of current affairs of the world (since they are very heavily focused on the after life), closed-minded (follow ‘popular’ practices of the Prophet but unable to apply the same principle across other similar situations) for instance.

Such biases divide us when we should instead be sisters of the same faith. In general, from a religion perspective, wearing a hijab has positive connotations while not wearing hijab brings with it negative connotations yet I don’t see reason for this. This suggests a superiority for those wearing a hijab over those who do not. Clearly my experiences do not support this. Some people of a different faith have better character.

So is the hijab just form over substance?  I would like to believe not but here’s my investigation and finding reason on this issue.

What does the Hijab represent?

Modesty. Basically everything you do should transmit to the opposite gender than does not call for the wrong attention.

From the article,

This includes “lowering our gazes” and respect other men or women by not eying them from head to toe (i.e. checking them out) – yet Malay men still catcall and Indian Muslim men still give uncomfortable stares.

Similarly, the physical Hijab establishes healthy distances of physical contact (not even a handshake with the opposite gender!). – handshakes are important gestures in the business industry so i guess this means muslim women are never to be seen in this industry?

Lastly, this modesty must also be manifested in the way we dress. – but baju kurung or rather, current fashion hugs the body in a certain way that I would not call modest.

Why wear one?

To Please Allah

Quoted from the article :

“After telling Muslim men to lower their gazes, the Holy Qur’an reminds women: “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that they should not display their beauty and ornaments, except what (ordinarily) appear thereof.” (24:31) In line with this Qur’anic verse, we do not display our beauty simply because it is the command of our Lord!”

  • ‘what ordinarily appears to be’ is defined as the face and hands though isn’t it arguable that the hair is what ordinarily appears to be too?
  • Nevertheless, it is a commanment and hence, Muslim women are to submit themselves to his will.

Prevent Female Exploitation & a source of protection

Quoted from the article :

“But what Muslim women realize is that our beauty is sacred and certainly not for any random man to gawk at for pleasure.”

“Regardless of where the blame lies, there is only one way by which a woman can guard herself against such evils, and that is why Hijabi women conceal their beauty in public as much as possible.”

  • Ok so beauty is dedicated to a religious purpose and furthermore, protects one from the potentiality of sexual harassment. I respect that.
  • However, even when covered, some Muslim men still “checks you out” and this renders the very idea of donning the hijab moot
  • Given recent happennings of ISIS (which inflicts terror on others in the name of Islam), there are some violent assaults of women with hijab

Preserving Beauty for that one partner

“Often labeled as “jealousy” by so-called Western “relationship experts”, this kind of respect and preserving oneself solely for one’s partner is actually the key to lifelong marital happiness and success.”

  • hijab fashion do become the main mode of conversation (at least among those I tried to mix around with) and made me question whether it is actually a fashion statement that attracts attention rather than removing, hence, contradicting its original purpose.
  • Other than preserving oneself, there are various other factors that contribute to a successful marriage. I have seen marriages of some Muslim women who wear the hijab struggling.
  • Is it erroneous to think of a marriage and define it solely by satisfying the other party in the beauty deparment?
  • Wouldn’t you rather learn to deal with any forms of jealousy rather than avoid it?

Judged for worth and not appearance

“A woman who observes the Hijab is freeing herself of society’s immoral and disrespectful expectations of her. A female who conceals her beauty has granted herself the power to say to the world “You know what? Everything about me besides my beauty should matter to you.””

  • not sure how my hair represents beauty even when i am modestly dressed.
  • I’m sure the society (which also consists of women) does not have immoral or disrespectful expectations just maybe more in industries where beauty is important (eg. modeling, entertainment) and furthermore, no one is forcing you to submit to their expectations. Even a non-hijab can refuse accepting such expectations.

So I have questions for most other points except for one where it is to submit oneself to God’s commandments. The articles are an eye opener but imma give myself some time to ponder over these questions..

References :

Why Wear the Hijab?

Women > Veiling > What is the Hijab and Why do Women Wear it?

Focuses more on commandment of the Quran – http://www.muhajabah.com/whyhijab.htm

Focuses more on the history – https://www.al-islam.org/hijab-muslim-womens-dress-islamic-or-cultural-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi/why-hijab

 

 

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Understanding Brexit

What is it?

Britain’s referendum on whether to leave the EU.

Why?

Main issue is immigration. Europe has been the main driver of a surge in immigration into Britain over the past decade.

These immigrants mostly come from other countries (mostly post-Communist countries in central and eastern Europe) relatively poorer than the UK) which have gained accession into the EU. They seek more prosperous conditions to live in and eventually settled on Britain. Poland is the 2nd-largest source of immigrants to the UK, behind India. It is these ‘accession’ countries that were a major driver of European immigration to Britain in the past decade.

A related issue is the subsequent eurozone crisis which impoverished some historically wealthier countries like Spain, Italy and Portugal. As unemployment increases in these countries, they start to look to other EU nations for employment and the British labour market was relatively easy to break into.

The influx of immigrants sparked anti-immigrant sentiment with a majority of Brits believing that immigration levels should be reduced. This argument is dominating the case for Brexit.

Which politicians are on which side?

Remain

Conservative PM, David Cameron

Leave

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader, Nigel Farage (focused excessively on threat from immigrants)

Conservative former mayor of London, Boris Johnson

>Believe that Britain can’t reduce immigration without leaving the EU, pushing Brexit to one of their top priorities.

Current poll status?

Remain has a majority by a very small margin. Hence, to close to call. Polls may not reflect actual results.

Implications if Brexit occurs?

It could trigger a currency crisis due to impact on Britain’s economy. It is estimated that value of British Pound could fall by 15% and since British companies tend to price their exports in foreign currency, that would mean more expensive exports and therefore, dampening exports. This results in a trade deficit. To finance this deficit, foreign investors would be required to pour billions into the British economy

People of Gibraltar (2.5 sq mile peninsula at tip of Spain) that has been under British control for >300 years. Spain really wants this territory back but its people (who are British citizens who hold British passports) were adamant that they remain under the control of the Brits and not be a part of Spain (not even a shared sovereignty). Gibraltarians are likely to vote remain due to the economic prosperity being part of the EU has brought to them. If Brexit occurs, Gibraltar would also be out of the EU. Gibraltar would not be able to reapply to join the EU since it is not recognized as a sovereign state. Also, Spain may then try to reassert its claim on Gibraltar or tighten border crossing restrictions/ close the border altogether.

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/23/12012962/brexit-eu-referendum-time-polls-close-chart

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/eu-referendum-2016-poll-results-7699714

Here’s the Brexit Worst Case Scenario

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/23/12005364/brexit-vote-gibraltar-britain-spain

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/23/12005814/brexit-eu-referendum-immigrants