Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: "The Guidance of God,-that is the (only) Guidance." Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither Protector nor helper against God. (Qur'an, Surah Al-Baqarah 2:120)
This is My Response to Organica's Post Titled: "Niqab: Is it Veiling the True Message of Islam?"
It seems, from what I have gathered - that your main concern and focal question in this post is "for what good? And for what benefit?" You [Organica] proclaim your understanding of the reasons as to why sisters wear the Niqaab and for what purpose, yet you really do NOT! I am sorry! Normally, I do not take the time to respond to such claims, but when it is coming from another muslim, it is quite troubling, and I believe it should be addressed.
If your main concern is with the criticism the image of the niqaab generates within the west, then we shouldn't be practicing Muslims in the first place - since Islam itself generates criticism within this part of the world. Anything Islamic raises eyebrows. Discrimination against Islam is nothing new, nor is islamophobia. It existed ever since the advent and spread of Islam, be it in the form of European Orientalism, or blunt, misinformed and offensive remarks by the general ignorant peoples of the West.
At one point, during the middle ages, the orientalists called us Muslims - "Muhammadans" - therefore generating general stereotypes and bad images of Muslims through the use of vulgar propaganda about our prophet (upon whom may be peace). Should we have then stopped following the sunnah of our prophet and left Islam just because of such baseless claims about our prophet? The early Islamic generations were not as weak, as we are today. They did not let those stereotypes reconsider their faith in Allah subhanu wa ta'ala nor the teachings of our prophet peace be upon him. So you ask "for what good?" They did so for the good of Islam - for the good of the Muslim Ummah!
Today's sisters who are strong enough to observe the niqab, despite the false stereotypes created in the media and general public about them are the carriers of our deen. They do it for Allah subhanu wa ta'ala first and foremost, and they do it for the Ummah. Why should they appease those false stereotypes? Why should they become apologetic for the wrong that has been done onto them? Why should Muslims keep apologizing for the wrong images that are being created about them? It is like rubbing salt onto an already open wound.
I believe that Muslims can perfectly integrate into Western society. Islam is nothing new in the West! It has been here and continues its integration process since the eleventh century. Today's popular thesis about the inevitable "clash of civilizations" is arguably very flawed. If it wasn't for Islam, the West would have never seen the light of the reformation period and sprung into enlightenment. Islam existed within the west for centuries. So how can we claim that Islam is completely unfathomable in the West?I concur, it is very difficult for a Muslim to practice his or her faith in it's purity within a modern Western environment, however it is a struggle, and not impossible. Sisters in niqab are a perfect example of that.
I believe that Niqab, or at the very least hijab, in the West is even more necessary then in Arab/Muslim countries. Hijab/Niqab is a form of identity. It is a Muslimah's uniform. It is something by which we are recognized as Muslims in the West - and this is very important knowing how much the prophet peace be upon him stressed for us to be differentiated from the non-Muslims. Al-Tirmidhi reported that the Messenger of Allah salallahu alleyhi wa salam said: "He is not one of us who imitates people other than us. Do not imitate the Jews and Christians." According to another narration he said, "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." (Reported by Imaam Ahmad)
Furthermore, it is a form of struggle/jihad for the muslim women themselves. It is a constant reminder of one's Islamic identity; therefore one constantly strives to please Allah subhanu wa ta'ala and tries to refrain from doing evil.- you say for what good? For the good of bettering oneself, and her relationship with the All Mighty.
So Muslimahs do it for the benefit of their Creator, themselves, their faith, and their community.
Again, I have to ask, why should it be their fault that this kid got scared, when his/her mother did not explain Islam well enough to him/her. If niqab itself was that scary, then all Muslim children should be suffering from shock syndrome, since their mothers are under the veil almost 24/7! I say all of this niqaab phobia business is a bunch of loaded uncouth propaganda!Peace!
BY NIDA http://theidealmuslimah.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-response-to-organicas-post-niqab-is.html
And since Organica disabled comments on her blog post I wanted to respond to this commentator. Nadia wrote: I totally agree with you on every tiny thing you said [and Organica said that the issue was dawah and Islam in the West in her post---not the Gulf]. I rarely see Niqab in Canada but when I do, I usually feel ashamed, because people look at these women and think 'Fundamentalist'. A girl in long jeans and a long shirt with a bright hijab on who holds open the door for you and smiles is the friendlier true face of Islam. Most women who wear niqab don't have a choice. In most cases, especially here in the Middle East, it's not about religion or connection to Allah, it's more about family and culture. One of my best friends grew up without Niqab, studied in the UK (with her Hijab), came back to the Middle East, and got a job as a university lecturer. A modest, quiet, intelligent girl. She got married a couple of years later to an educated intelligent man, and despite all his promises to her before the wedding, he immediately forced her to wear Niqab because he didn't want other men to see her face, and he forced her to stop work. I've seen this scenario so many times! Is it religion or jealousy?
My response.... Nadia: you said that niqab shouldn't be worn in the west, right, but then you bring up cultural issues of Muslim women being forced to wear it by their husbands in the Gulf, which is a different subject entirely than the woman that wants to wear it as part of her religion IN THE WEST, which is what Organica acknowledged. No offense, but any woman stupid enough to do something NOT based in her religion by her husband is a weak idiot. I won't let anyone force me to do, or NOT to anything I don't believe in. I want to wear niqab in the West for my Creator. My husband doesn't want me to wear it [he thinks it is mustahaab but that means wearing it where there is less struggle to hom], I am not being forced, and in my experience, because I have time for people, I get to give people alot of dawah about my niqab and other islamic issues. I have gotten it down to one minute, explaining fiqh, hijab, obedience to Allah. I have seen ignorant men that just wanted to scream at me stop that and thank me for teaching them that I want to be valued solely for my actions in society, not my ability to charm by beauty of facial dexterity. Don't be a weak idiot and let a man run your life. That is your own fault if you won't live according to the sunnah and your conivctions rather than the culture. Sure the guy is to blame too, but the woman is in a way more to blame. That is not what a Muslim woman does. She lives by her beliefs and convictions, not her own desires, but certainly by her own convictions. I think it is great tragedy when anyone is forced to wear ANYTHING against their beliefs. I would stand up for your "friend's" right not to wear niqab, but I expect you not to label me as fundamentalist because I want to wear something the Prophet's wives and some of the best women of the Sahaba DID. Of my own convictions. Of my own beliefs. Giving my own dawah. Which is more than I ever did in the West in just a headscarf.
Organica, I just had to reply to this comment you made: "Muslims focus too much these days on the appearances. So what if someone lost the beard for the sake of telling people about Allah? That is better in my book than sporting the beard, short thobe and praying 5 times a day at mosque. My dear sister, you must understand your purpose on this earth. You aren't here to just cover and be happy. You are here to worship Allah and call people to worship Him."
My response is that indeed, our only purpose in this life is to worship Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala (tauhid). Salat, niqab, beards, thobes, can be part of these things. We ARE sent to warn others, but that is not as important to Allah subhanhu wa ta ala as our own perfected obedience and worship. It is said that there will be Prophets who had many followers, and prophets without a SINGLE follower on the day of judgement, and these shall be admitted to the highest seat in Jannah. Obviously the dawah is not as important as the worshipping and obedience. What are we calling people to then, if we can pick and choose of the sunnah what we wish? A beard was a command unto men from the Prophet sallalahu alahi wa salaam. Are brothers to shave theirs to get converts? If they do, what have they just taught those converts? Discard Allah's commands and what the Messenger has given you AS you will.
While I love the dawah oppurtunities my niqab affords me, I know that my personal understanding and practice of Islam comes before trying to make a good impression on others. On the day of judgement, they won't be standing with me, and I won't be measured by if they started to walk the same path I do or not. My own footsteps will spell out what has been writ for me.
For Najah: : [in disagreements between husband and wife] "...and take mutual counsel together, according to what is just and reasonable." (65:6)
“Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance;” (42:38)
So as you will see, the words "mutual counsel" are used MORE than once to emphasise that the woman's thoughts and wishes are also important (her husband's do not override her's unless the matters are in the religion) and if they are not the not, the Qu'ran asks both the husband and wife to do what is just and resonable. If the man's commands are unfathomable, or the wife's, or go against the rights of the other in the religion, they are not to be blindly obeyed. This of course is not an excuse to blindly use for trouble-making.