Bismillah

The burka is not a religious problem, it's a question of liberty and women's dignity. It's not a religious symbol, but a sign of subservience and debasement. I want to say solemnly, the burka is not welcome in France. In our country, we can't accept women prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity. That is not our idea of freedom.” – Nicolas Sarkozy.

Here we go again. After the hue and cry following the comments made by Jack Straw in 2006, another political statement made very publicly by a notable politician in Europe has sent the Muslim Ummah into a defensive global backlash and rhetoric. As for the tremendous vocal support Sarkozy's comments have garnered, both from non-Muslims and secular-minded Muslims, it is indeed a shame, a staggeringly startling shame, for people who claim to be champions of 'freedom' and 'equality', to support any kind of ban on an individual's choice of dress.

niqabi

Whether a woman chooses to don the burka out of cultural factors or religious ones, – what difference does it make? She is making a conscious choice to clad herself in this garment. For the onlookers to assume that she was oppressed into wearing it just screams of naïveté and a purported facade of concern. Also, if the burka is restrictive and isolating, isn't that the wearer's prerogative? Since when is it 'unacceptable' for a woman to choose not to mingle with men or roam around freely sans outer garments? If that is her choice: to be home-bound, largely unidentified and covered-up; can we not let her be!?

Perhaps not being offended by one's wife's nude photographs being auctioned off for thousands of dollars speaks more aptly of 'freedom', liberty and the pièce de résistance: women's “dignity”? Since when is it “dignified” to peel off a woman's clothing and commoditize her body for the world to ogle and wow at as a piece of artwork? What if a woman chooses to do the absolute opposite i.e. wear layers of clothing that gives this clear message to men: “hands off”, “eyes off” and last but not least, “back off”? That is a sign of “subservience and debasement”? Subhan Allah!

British Muslim Ms. Saira Khan, who was extremely vocal of her views about the burka in the UK in 2006, and reiterated her stance this year after Nicolas Sarkozy's comments, claims to have once tried it on and found it to be “the most horrid experience. It restricted the way I walked, what I saw, and how I interacted with the world. It took away my personality. I felt alienated and like a freak. It was hot and uncomfortable, and I was unable to see behind me, exchange a smile with people, or shake hands.”

There are many other dresses that are equally, if not more, uncomfortable for woman to wear; that never stopped them from wearing them, did it? Be it the hideous combination of garish angel-wings, gaudy underwear and monstrous boots that starved, underweight, so-called 'icons' of fashion strut on the catwalk amid scores of cameras (where are the champions of women's dignity now? Oh sorry, they're probably drooling too profusely to be able to talk!), or the bandage designer dresses that fitness-freak celebrities squeeze themselves into for public events, or the voluminous swathes of fabric that Eastern women meticulously fold around their bellies every day, accompanied by a clinging excuse-for-a-blouse, to go about their domestic duties in this traditional sari, taking pains and tolerating discomfort to carry off their preferred choice of dress is something women have been doing since centuries. Trust me, donning a full-length cloak over loose, comfortable clothing and tying a piece of cloth over your face is actually much easier to carry off than those male designers' couture creations for women, that are supposed to send us into frenzied, money-busting jaunts of retail therapy. It seems while Ms. Khan did endeavor to don the burka for a television programme, she forgot to cast off the walls of prejudice and disdain from her mind before doing it.

Whenever any person, be they the likes of Muslims like Saira Khan, or of prominent world leaders such as Nicolas Sarkozy, claims to have problems with women cladding themselves in top-to-toe religious garb that covers them completely, it is actually their own innate issues, having to do with Muslim faith, Islamic identity and assimilation into foreign society for the purpose of worldly gains, wherein lies the crux of the problem. They are not concerned about women being oppressed by men in the name of religion, restricted physically in bodily movement and outdoor recreational activities, or isolated socially by these layers of cloth, or about not being 'equal' and 'free' to do whatever they want in society. They are confused as to how other women can persistently carry off a garment which they have chosen to throw off or refuse to wear.

It is actually a major slap in their face to see Muslim women having the so-called freedom to take off their burka's and sprint about in clothes worn by the people of their country, but choose not to; for them to have the legal and social liberty to laugh and mingle freely with men, shaking hands and cracking jokes, but choose not to; for them to have the power to exploit their feminine sexuality to garner monumental worldly gains, but choose not to. At their wits' end, they write emotionally-charged articles and make flambouyant statements about so-called equality, freedom, dignity and liberation of women, because they can just not fathom why a woman in her right mind would choose to dress this way.

And yet, with each passing year, more and more educated, free and liberal-minded women are choosing to dress this way. Women who grew up in the culture of parties, drinking, casual dating and random sex. Women with jobs, active love-lives, careers and money. Women with loving families, husbands and/or children. Isn't it worthy of reflection why a woman would give up so much to don a garment that the world adamantly insists on banning?

I have been wearing the burka for several years now, and over this time, have gained the friendship of an increasing number of educated, confident and devout Muslim women who dress the same way, whether in the East or the West. While its true that we made a conscious choice to start wearing this garment, what is worthy of taking note is that just deciding to wear it is not the tough part. The tough part is dealing constantly with the skepticism, silent antagonism and outright hostility that other Muslims – yes, Muslims -  show us time and again when they see us performing our daily lives in public with this garment on. A small number among them, sadly, are also those modestly-dressed sisters who themselves wear hijab, whom we mix with at parties and weddings, who can't seem to fathom why we haven't given up on the face-veil yet. They sometimes criticize the burka too, because according to them, much like some claims made by non-Muslims, it is not ordained anywhere in the Qur'an; else, they consider it sufficient to meander out of having to wear it by quoting scholars and jurists who emphasize how it is not obligatory. There are many things Muslims do for the pleasure of Allah that are not obligatory, so where's the argument, really?

We do not want to enforce our choice of wearing burka on other Muslim women; what we would, however, appreciate is to be left alone to wear it if we have chosen to.

And don't pity us, please. Pity the botoxed, image-obssessed teenaged girl with the eating disorder, roaming around barely clothed on the beach, wondering if the sun is highlighting her cellulite, or if her body is in anyway less than perfect for the world to judge.

Further reading: Niqabi, Interrupted by Na'ima B. Robert, and The Niqab, Fact v. Fiction, by Fatima Barkatulla.

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200 Responses

  1. Amatullah

    Yes, no pity please :) For both the niqaabis and hijaabis. Barak Allahu feeki Sadaf.

    Getting hate from non-Muslims is understandable, but to be belittled by your fellow Muslims for covering yourself up is really beyond me. One brother who wrote an article said that niqaab, in his eyes, only carries liabilities and no benefits. Interesting how someone who has never experienced hijaab can claim what is a liability.

    I believe it’s one of the signs of the Day of Judgment that people take good as bad and bad as good. May Allah keep us guided on the truth, Ameen.

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    • Sadaf

      Ameen!
      I read that article too; it was on the Huffington Post by Ahmed Rehab. I am amazed at how a brother can claim that niqab doesn’t carry benefits, when only a woman can truly know the amazing benefits it brings.

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      • May

        I read it too, Sadaf & Amatullah seem to be reacting emotionally.

        The Huffington Post did not question the Hijab, whatsoever. The brother only questioned whether the Niqab is an obligation, stating correctly that many many scholars and Muslims including him take the position that it is not an obligation, but acknowledging that other scholars and Muslims do believe it is an obligation.No wrongs there.

        He then stated that while he personally finds the Niqab to be a liability (stressing that this is his personal opinion), he clearly acknowledged the right of a sister or anyone else to disagree with him and the point of the article was to support her right to wear it whether he or others like it or not. No wrongs there.

        So I don’t know why there is a complaint here, people are entitled to have an opinion just as you do, and just because they disagree, it does not mean they are victimizing you. Bottomline is he respects ur right to belive and do what you think is right and you should reciprocate.

        Laslty, the Niqab is NOT assessed by what one or a number of woman says of it, otherwise there would be reason to ban it based on what one or a number women claim of repression and enforcement. So, It is best to entertain an open discussion where you present logic and common sense, not silencing people based on gender. That is what the brother did to present a strong argument that opposes the ban and supports the right of Niqabis.

        Please avoid emotional readings of texts and seeing things only from your limited prespective, crying wolf when things are not 100% ur way. thx.

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      • Amatullah

        Just as he has his own opinion, we also have the right to share ours. Nothing based on emotions. Thanks.

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  2. mystrugglewithin

    Asalamalaikum,

    By 2027, 1 in 5 Frenchmen will be Muslim – Global Jihad: Lifting the Veil on Islam

    In 39 years, France will be an Islamic Republic – Global Jihad: Lifting the Veil on Islam

    Let Sarkozy say whatever he desires; Inshallah very soon, we’ll be able to witness the First Lady of France wearing Abaya + Hijab + Niqab :D

    Jak, salams.

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    • Amad

      I think we should be careful on relying on Islamophobic outfits that are intending to spread the fear of Islam to spread alarmist stats. What will happen is what Allah has written. Such statements only strengthen the bigots’ approach to Muslims. It is important for Muslims to focus on being good citizens of their adopted countries in the West, and doing their best to do dawah to other Muslims and non-Muslims. Let the results be in Allah’s Hands.

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      • GCarty

        I find the speculation that Europe’s population will be demographically replaced by Muslim immigrants to be ridiculous in the grand scheme of things — although if Bulgaria’s population decline continues, Turkey may end up reannexing it before the century’s out ;)

        The only plausible way I could see Europe Islamized is if the antitheist drive by people such as Richard Dawkins were to destroy Christianity as a viable force in Europe, but then itself fail catastrophically, such that Europeans return to religion en masse, but see Islam rather than Christianity as the more viable option…

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  3. amad

    Btw, I can’t stand that Saira woman. She belongs to the clique of Manji, Asra …

    “look at us– we aren’t oppressed… we are doing everything haraam, but that’s ok, because we are free women”.

    Yes, free indeed. Free of Islam (in what it requires of its adherents).

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  4. YASIR AZIM

    Jazakallahkhair Baji Sadaf for posting this article,

    Once i heard from a coworker making a comment why dont these people go back if they want to practice their believes. it made me very angry but at the same time Allah(swt) gave me Hikma and i said According my constitution every one have full right to practice what they Believe and People who dont like this Constitution they dont deserve to live hear and they should go back where they come from.
    These people have Double standers and Sisters Please dont be worried Allah(swt) is with you no matter what they plan. I support you 110%

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  5. abdullah

    May Allah(swt) bless these muslim sisters who are facing trial everyday.

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  6. a sister

    AA,

    Well written article. I understand the reaction to Sarkozy’s comments, but I wonder why there is a surprise since France has again and again shown to be anti-Muslim. Really, why do Muslims insist on living there. There is a vast world where they can freely practice their religion. There is an Ayat of the Quran that says people will be asked on the day of Judgment whether the world was not vast enough for you to leave the place that oppressed you and forced you out of the religion?

    Also, why don’t we boycott France? They are so eager to disenfranchise Muslims, we as Muslims should disassociate ourselves from France!

    Even having said this, the issue of Niqaab is a touchy one. I am a Hijabi who also agrees that the Niqaab is unnecessary, and makes women faceless in their society. If it’s not Fard, then why make it Fard on ourselves?! To be honest, it’s not even Sunnah. Besides the wives of the Prophet who were given specific instructions, most other Muslim women at the time of the Prophet did not wear Niqaab and the Prophet didn’t instruct them to do so. That is the true Islamic evidence.

    The niqaab not only distances the women from men, but other women. I cannot go to a niqaabi and say Salaam “so and so” because I have no idea who that is and I will never know her. How can I build sisterhood when I can’t even see the face of the sister?

    Islam is about moderation, and the niqaab is an extreme. I have also tried on the Burka in Afghanistan, and it is Awful. You can’t even breath under it. I have seen Niqaabis trying to eat at a restaurant, and it looks rather silly.

    So while I am 100% for women to wear what they like (bikini or niqaab) as Allah has given us the right to choose and He will be the only judge if we did wrong, I get a bit upset that Muslim Matters always makes it seem like the Niqaab is the more “Islamic way” by always posting these kind of articles. The majority of scholars have agreed that the Sunnah is the Hijaab, not the niqaab (although that is allowed). A minority have made the niqaab fard on women, and that is incorrect as they have no evidence to make something halal into something haraam. It is halal for a woman to show her face, and saying otherwise is a great sin in Islam. We are not more Muslim than Allah and His Prophet.

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    • a sister

      Oh, and the reason Hijabi sisters like me react strongly against the Niqaab is that by wearing it, you make a statement that the Hijab is not enough, that a woman needs the Niqaab to truly please Allah (swt). I take total offense to that statement. Allah has said first to not make something halal into haraam for yourselves. Second, He says “O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of GOD’s signs, that they may take heed.” So the fabric does not make one necessarily closer to Allah, it is the action and faith of the believer. I believe a woman who is active in helping alleviate the suffering of the poor and needy is much closer to God than a woman who sits at home, afraid to mingle with men. She gets her reward, but the reward of those who leave their homes for the sake of Allah are much higher.

      No matter how you try to justify it, the Niqaab does limit the ability of a woman to fully participate in her society. It’s escaping from the world rather than trying to change it. The Christian monks also went up to the mountains to escape the dunya, but Allah did not praise them for this action.

      When sisters support the niqaab, it forces the non-niqaabis to try to justify why they are not wearing it. By wearing the niqaab, you are making the hijabis seem less “practicing” and weak in their faith, while the Hijab itself is a struggle for sisters.

      The “leave us alone” argument doesn’t cut it because your action affects others. The woman in the bikini also wants to be left alone….but we so quickly say how oppressed and wrong she is. What you wear and how you wear it affects those around you and their reaction comes from how they compare themselves to you. So unfortunately, a woman will never be “left alone” to decide what she wears.

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      • h. ahmed

        hmm.. why is this sister getting such negative feedback? i think her comment is valid and should be discussed rather than given a thumbs down!!!!

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      • slaveofAllah4lyf

        “Oh, and the reason Hijabi sisters like me react strongly against the Niqaab is that by wearing it, you make a statement that the Hijab is not enough, that a woman needs the Niqaab to truly please Allah (swt).”

        Sister, i want to ask you who do you think Allah is more pleased with, you or the wifes and daughters (May Allah be pleased with them all)of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace, Blessing and Prayers of Allah be upon him)??

        “I believe a woman who is active in helping alleviate the suffering of the poor and needy is much closer to God than a woman who sits at home, afraid to mingle with men. She gets her reward, but the reward of those who leave their homes for the sake of Allah are much higher.”

        Sister, I say you go out there and do as much as helping the needy and poor as you want to then come back and tell me if Allah is more pleased with you or Maryam (Peace be upon her)?? Of course its Maryam, and do you know what Allah say about her in the Quran, he says she guarded her chastity, sat in her mehrab (worship place) and remebered Allah all the time. She didnt go out to help the poor and needy, Although its not haram to do that, its a very good thing to do, but men are there to do that job. Did you know although a man is not allowed to stop a woman from going to the masjid, but still the praying in home is better for a woman, and in all the home, the best place is her own worship place.And even if you want to go out to help the poor, no one can stop you, but what difference will wearing a niqab make? do you alleviate the suffering of the poor by showing them your face? Ofcourse not you just give them the money, food, water, etc…

        “No matter how you try to justify it, the Niqaab does limit the ability of a woman to fully participate in her society. It’s escaping from the world rather than trying to change it.”

        It doesnt all it does is doesnt let the other person see your face, and why does it matter if the other person sees your face or not?? How is it trying to escape the world?? we want to change the world not change ourselves according to the world.

        “The Christian monks also went up to the mountains to escape the dunya, but Allah did not praise them for this action.”

        They abstained day and night from all the material things even food and water. Niqab wearing sisters dont do all that.

        “When sisters support the niqaab, it forces the non-niqaabis to try to justify why they are not wearing it. By wearing the niqaab, you are making the hijabis seem less “practicing” and weak in their faith, while the Hijab itself is a struggle for sisters.”

        Well, then you have to accpet it. If you want to show that you are more practicing then you have to run faster then the 1st person you cannot catch her shirt and pull her back, if you know what I mean. Sister, I’m sorry to say that if the hijab is a struggle for you them you have ot accept that you faith is indeed weak because you have to struggle to wear the hijab while other sister are wearing the niqab comfortably. These are the ghuraba, who dont care what the world thinks about them and just wants to please their Lord.

        “The “leave us alone” argument doesn’t cut it because your action affects others. The woman in the bikini also wants to be left alone….but we so quickly say how oppressed and wrong she is. What you wear and how you wear it affects those around you and their reaction comes from how they compare themselves to you. So unfortunately, a woman will never be “left alone” to decide what she wears.”

        So instead of saying them to come to a lowel level of Iman, you climb the ladder and go to a higher level of faith and not to an even lower level of faith of that of the bikini wearing woman.

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      • AH605

        I think basing your argument on comparisons on the actions of above sister with the family of our Prophet (saw) is a fallacy. If one was to compare the actions of slaveofAllah4lyf with our prophet im sure he would fall far shorter then the above comparison.

        The Niqab prevents the ability to be identified with is the basic requirement for communication and human interaction. The sister has completely valid argument and as yet no sensible response has been given to her.

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      • slaveofAllah4yf

        True, I may fall short, but that doesnt mean that if I’m not doing something, I stop others from doing it too. My response was due to the fact that the sister was pointing that those who wear niqab are doing something wrong. Which is, ofcourse, wrong. Similarly, if you are not doing something good, then saying that someone doing that good is wrong (even though she says that she 100% for anyone, she does make it look like something wrong), is just pure bigotry.

        About saying that niqab prevents the ability to be identified, I’m asking you a simple (rhetorical)question: How do you identify a person when you talk to him/her on the phone? Ofcourse, by the sound of the person, the way of talking, etc… How do you identify a person while chatting on the net? by the way the person speaks, is evident enough to say if its the person you know or not and if its the same person you think it is. Whereas, when concerning niqab, you can identify the person by the above mentioned factors as well as many different factors, like, height (not everyone is of the same height), skin colour (through the eye hole or whatever you call it), size (fat, moderate, thin, etc…), etc…

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      • Gohar

        It would be useful if those who are concerned about security could give some scenarios which they are concerned about.

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      • Anna

        Well, the men who robbed a French post office using pistols they hid under their abayas and disguised with niqabs might have been an example.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1249157/Paris-Armed-robbers-disguised-burkhas-raid-bank.html

        A better question might be why we are not willing to endure the potential security risks posed by the niqab, as opposed to the security risks posed by freedom of association (it might make us safer if we could arrest people who spend all their time hanging out with violent criminals, but we don’t think that’s a good reason to criminalize it).

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      • Arif

        Well written … I agree with almost all what sister has said… However, the fact that other person is wearing a niqaab shoudn’t make one feel inferior :-)…. Also, I see that in some cases many sisters will prerfer to cover their faces.. especially when passing through crowded areas or when she sees a group of seemingly “pranksters” standing on the way and she wants to avoid their oogling looks…

        But yes, i think when working on a job professionaly outside home, stressing to cover the face doesn’t make sense.. In that case, its better that she should not work outside

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      • Gohar

        Being able to cover your face, is as your example shows, an important SAFETY measure. So is one counter response to those who cite security reasons for wanting to ban the niqaab.

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    • Quran is my life

      everyone should at least ONCE in their life learn the Quran in detail from its original language: Arabic. Would we like to leave this world not knowing what it is that Allah SWT has said to us? Translations do not convey the proper Message and that is why we have these differences in opinion.

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    • hilas

      Wa alaikumus salam,

      I think you made a mistake in the last statement, “we are not more muslim …”

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    • Abdullah

      Please ask any man what do they think abt a women not wearing naqab but hijab or what do they think by looking at opened face . Isn’t it a sin

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    • Ahmad AlFarsi

      most other Muslim women at the time of the Prophet did not wear Niqaab and the Prophet didn’t instruct them to do so. That is the true Islamic evidence.

      Are you sure about that? On the contrary, the evidence indicates that, whether Muslim women felt niqaab was obligatory or simply preferred, nearly all Muslim women of the Ummah used to wear niqaab, from the time of the sahaabah until just a few centuries ago (until the disease of colonialism struck our ummah).

      The majority of scholars have agreed that the Sunnah is the Hijaab, not the niqaab (although that is allowed).

      Actually, all Muslim scholars have unanimous consensus that the niqaab is at least preferable for women. Some scholars hold it preferable, while others hold it as a requirement. Not a single classical Islamic scholar has opined that “the Sunnah is the Hijaab, not the niqaab.” It is either preferred or required; period.

      A minority have made the niqaab fard on women, and that is incorrect as they have no evidence to make something halal into something haraam. It is halal for a woman to show her face, and saying otherwise is a great sin in Islam.

      Guard your tongue against the scholars of our deen before accusing them of making the halal haram (in doing so, believe it or not, you are accusing them of major kufr). Both sides of the issue (whether they say it is fard or simply preferable) have their evidences for saying so, and both have strong evidences, believe it or not. It would suit you to study the methodology of fiqh (and specifically the fiqh on this issue) before accusing them of passing fatwa without evidence and making the halal haram (which is, again, an accusation of disbelief, whether you knew that or not).

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      • Jamilah

        JazakAllah Khair Brother for making this clear

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      • Sadaf

        Jazak Allahu khairan katheera for your worthy input. It adds much-needed credibility to the discussion.

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      • MR

        Read what Shaykh Albani had to say about Niqab. He has some points that are different from yours.

        Also, in Hajj, there are no niqaabis unless they aren’t following the correct method of Hajj.

        Allah knows best.

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      • Ahmad AlFarsi

        Read what Shaykh Albani had to say about Niqab. He has some points that are different from yours.

        I am quite certain Sh. al-Albani (rahimahullah) held niqab as mustahabb (preferable). In any case, the ijma’ on it being recommended at a minimum, was established about a thousand years prior.

        Yes, obviously the state of ihraam is a completely different scenario. The ulama are also divided on the ruling of covering the face in ihraam, based on the interpretation of the relevant ahadeeth. Some say it should not be done in ihraam, others say it is fard, even in ihraam, to cover the face the way the mentioned in the hadeeth you posted below, when men are present.

        Obviously, we cannot take the actions in ihraam and make them the standard for daily life… otherwise, I would advise you against cutting your hair, trimming your nails, or wearing perfume, amongst many other things ;)

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      • Ahmad AlFarsi

        Here is some of what Sh. al-Albani (rahimahullah) has said regarding niqaab:

        It was mentioned above that the face need not be covered. If, however, the woman is wearing make-up, she should cover her face, since the make-up is adornment beyond what is permitted. Similarly, she should cover her hands if she is wearing nail polish or some other decoration or ornament. Furthermore, although it is permissible to leave the face uncovered in the presence of strangers, it is praiseworthy to cover it, as that was the practice of the wives of the Prophet according to authentic ahaadeeth.

        So, walhamdulillah, clearly Sh. al-Albani held the niqaab to be recommended for women.

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      • MR

        Aa’ishah (radyAllaahu anhaa) said:

        “Male riders would pass by us while we (wives) were in the state of ihraam with the Messenger of Allaah (sallaahu alayhi was salem). When they would approach us, (each) one of us would let her jilbaab fall down from (the top of) her head over her face. And when they had passed on, we would uncover our faces”

        Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and ibn Maajah

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      • Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

        Ironically Sh. Ibn ‘Uthaymîn used this as a proof for the obligation of covering the face. It was a while since I read it, but from what I remember, he reasoned that, for ‘Aisha to cover her face in front of men, eventhough that is generally not supposed to happen during Hajj, shows that she held it to be even more obligatory to cover the face in front of men. Otherwise, she would not have left an obligation for a mustahab.

        WAllâh A’lam

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    • slaveofAllah4lyf

      “Well written …. ourselves from France!”

      agreed upon..

      “Even having said…. faceless in their society.”

      If a women chooses to cover her face, how is it supposed to make here faceless?? if She doesnt want to show her face, fine. Whats wrong in that? Talking to a woman who has covered her face is just like talking to a friend over the phone or in a chat (without a cam).

      “If it’s not Fard….true Islamic evidence”

      Sister, not fard, agreed, not sunnah, i doubt that. Was the Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) a female? No, so how in the world would you expect a thing that is directly concerned with women to see in a sunnah? So if not the Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) then who? The best answer according to logic is to look at the wifes n daughters (May Allah be pleased with them all) of the Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) n since you yourself agree that, lets look at the women around the Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him). If i go into detail it’ll become very long (it already is =D). I’ll give only one example. Look at the woman because of whom Banu Quraiza (can anyone please if it was quraiza or it was qaynuka’a) was thrown out of Madina, she covered her face, and was in a market of the jews, a jews in mischief was instead of telling the price of the good when asked by the woman was asking her to uncover her face, she didnt, he insisted so she said wallahi i wont, the jew sitting at the next stall tied her khimar to the down of her jilbab. So when she got up her jilbab also went up with her, long story short, a sahabi saw that, went to help the woman, chopped the head of the jew on the spot, the other jews killed him there itself, The Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) then threw them out for breaking the treaty. Sister, the point to be noted here is that, the sahabiya did cover her face and she didnt remove the veil even after so much insistance, the Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) didnt say the woman why did you not open your face , but instead because of the honour of the sahabiya he threw out the whole of the specifice tribe which did this. So your claim that the sahabiyat didnt cover up their face is wrong and the Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) never stopped them but instead supported them in this action. And the Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) never supported any action which is not good.

      “The niqaab ….face of the sister?”

      Thats just your thinking sister. If you cant say Salaam so n so u can say Salaam sister. You cant see her face in public. But when you two are segregated from men you two can not only uncover your face and see eachother but also you two dont have to wear hijab in women only area.

      “Islam is about….looks rather silly.”

      Islam is moderation, but its not following your own desires and your will. Niqab is not extreme, are you trying to say that Allah commanded the Prophet’s (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) Wifes and daughters to go to the extremes??? Think twice sister before you speak once. You are calling what the Prophet’s (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) wifes and daughter used to wear awful??? Seriously sister were you even thnking before saying a word of it? if you cant breath under it. How on earth do so many sister like to wear the Burqa’a?? Let me guess, you saw the video @ youtube of sisters trying to eat noodles under the niqab, ryt? And eating inside a Burqa’a requires a woman to eat from down not from up, contraty to what those women in the video were doing.

      “So while I am 100%…..posting these kind of articles.”

      Sister, Allah has give you the choice but He also put a minimum requirement which is the Hijab and since you wear hijab, I guess you what are the rules of hijab. Bikini isnt allowed n Islam except in front of the husband or when alone and private. Sister, do you know why the wife of Lut (Peace be upon him) was punished? She never practiced sodomy or homosexuality (if there is a difference between the two :D ) All she did was, she didnt care about what the people do. She was like if they want to practice sodomy so its there wish. Although, she never herself practiced it but she didnt think of it as a crime and therefore she was punished. This was regarding your statement that you are 100% for women to wear what they like (BIKINI of niqaab). And niqaab is infact the more Islamic way, and no scholar has any different opinion about that.

      “The majority of scholars have agreed that the Sunnah is the Hijaab, not the niqaab (although that is allowed).”

      Totally wrong, sister.The correct statement is that Majority of the scholars believe that Hijab is a fard (obligatory) and niqaab is mustahab which means highly preferred.

      “A minority have made…….great sin in Islam.”

      They infact have proof, but the proof they use is the same verse that the majority scholars use, but it is interpreted in another way. So, this doesnt make it haram , because, both the ways of interpreting is correct. As this was showed by the Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) when some of the sahaba were sent somewhere by the Prophet(Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) I dont remember the whole story he said something about asr prayer and they when on the journey the sahaba had a dispute over it about what the Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) meant, one group took the saying literally and the other in a way of a similitude (i guess it was similitude) after returning from the journey The Prophet (Peace, Blessing n Prayers of Allah be upon him) was informed about this. So, he affirmed both the groups. Because the saying could be taken in both the ways. Similarly, the verse could be takeing in both the ways, So, it isnt haram to accept either ones of the two views. And sister beware, puting blames on anyone is a very dangerous act.

      Wallahu A’alam (And Allah knows best)

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  7. SilentVoices

    Asslam -o-Alaikum..

    Thanks for sharing such a nice article .. and i think France like other western world.. also have fear from the truth .. they are not opposing Burka but they have fear that one day soon the common French women who are prisoner of nude culture will become aware of the fact that “Buraka” is really a safety and a real truth fashion which not only give them a sense of safety and respect but also give them an identity of a female.. which they are losing.. on name of Freedom….

    Allah bless us all…

    Regards

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  8. umayr

    jazakallahu kheir, a very positive article posted that provide us with the understanding of the curent realities muslim women face, n i personally believe dat since theres also a “hijaab’ for men by “lowering their gaze” a “nikaab ” fo them which is “nt lookn at all” will be brought up sooner…

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  9. tr

    Dear MM

    I guess the question is how do we articulate in press the point that indeed some women are forced into wearing the veil? I for one know a large sector of women who are forced to do so by their menfolk due to the particular following of religious interpretation. We all know that not every woman wears the veil due to choice.. rather as a custom n their community.

    In the last week I have certainly been asked by a friend who was due to defend the burka in media, what argument should be used for this point? Rather than Muslims appearing as victim again? What are your suggestions regards this?

    I genuinely would like some advice on this for women I know who are involved in Press questions. Please feel free to email me a reply when you get a chance.

    Many thanks.

    Kind regards

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  10. Leila

    I will go to work naked tomorrow because it is my CHOICE. People do not make choices that is outside the social boundaries, instead of arguing for freedom of choice, you should look into why Muslim women feel the need to be defiant in a secular society where face covering will lead to you being secluded.

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    • hilas

      Muslim women feel the need to be defiant(since you used the word) because they know that pleasing the creation will not avail them anything in this world and hearafter.

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    • Amatullah

      If you have the choice to go to work naked, then why can’t a sister wear niqaab/hijaab? Since when is obeying the command of Allah to cover classify one as defiant?

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      • Anna

        part of the sister’s point may be that she is NOT free to go to work stark naked, but we don’t hear the same people yelling about how anti-liberal it is to prevent her from wearing burka expressing any concern about the fact that she cannot go to work naked if she wants. Whatever our ultimate conclusions, we should be careful to be consistent with ourselves and honest about why we hold the positions that we do.

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    • Amad

      Leila, please define “social boundaries”? If tomorrow, covering your legs with pants below ankles becomes outside the norms of your “social boundaries”, would you argue that Muslim women should wear mini-skirts too?

      Unfortunately “social boundaries” change with the whim of men, all relative to time and place. Consider how the women’s dress itself has evolved over the last hundred years. On the other hand, most of the values in our deen are absolute, where time and place don’t have an effect on it.

      You know if you don’t want to wear niqab, that’s fine. But don’t let your spite for those who wear it make you unjust. Instead of arguing what the social boundaries are constricting women to wear, argue to expand the social boundaries to let people wear what they feel is their religious duty.

      Finally, no one is harmed by the niqab… all the arguments about crime, etc. are exaggerations. Niqab has been worn in the Middle East for ages, in America tons of women wear it, you don’t have crime sprees in these places, do you? I am sure a few may abuse it, but few bad apples are not sufficient to take someone else’s rights away. It is like if someone uses a small gun hidden under his yarmulke… does that mean all caps including the yarmulke should also be banned?

      Let’s get it right. This isn’t about security. This isn’t about “protecting” Muslim women from oppression. This is pure and simple Islamophobia, and a desire of some to stamp their sense of superiority of western value over Muslims. And sorry, but it ain’t happening.

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    • h

      WOW !
      So Leila’s solution is to walk naked :s

      SubhanAllah !

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  11. emirzad

    in a scholar’s word, taqwa is different fatwa is different. although it is allowed to one to have not to wear niqab, its just a different opinion which we respect; its entirely personal to choose a person to wear it out of fear of Allaah. its not any indication saying it brings you closer to Allaah. we definitely learn a good case to learn about fiqh ul khilaf, the ethics of disagreement; how to agree and disagree among ourselves ( on contemporary issues)

    please do not play in to feminist’s hands by saying niqaab is not mandatory ( or otherwise); its simple that for people who wear lesser c lothes ( than hijab requirement) you ( o muslim who observe hijab out of fear of Allaah) are already the last beacon for humanity, as shaykh said, for hayaa; after you the world has no hopes for modesty and bashfulness; so please stick to it. do not play into fitna hands…

    fi Amanillah

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  12. monkeynursemd

    this is specifically for the muslim on muslim onslaught:

    although it takes a lot more strength and courage for our sisters to wear niqab, i liken it to the beard for the brothers. there are some brothers who follow the opinion of never trimming it, some to fistful length, and some a little less and so on. we know that the beard is wajib, and yet some brothers don’t have one. it used to be difficult to explain to co-workers why i have a beard when so and so muslim doesn’t. some muslims drink. some miss their prayers. some do horrific things. that does not translate into it being a part of our faith.

    regarding niqab:

    the issue of niqab is an old one. much older than we think. in our al-maghrib class we learned that the controversy started between ibn masood and ibn umar (may allah be pleased with them) over whether it was wajib or not. there are evidences for it and evidences against it. our muslim sisters have enough to deal with, rather than having to defend their choice. some choose one set of evidences, some choose the other.

    my wife decided to wear the niqab when she used to take the train to school in chicago. whenever there was a cubs game, the train car would get full of people. she wished she had something she could hide behind to avoid the stares and body visualizing that our oh-so-drunk public loves to do. she donned the niqab and it set her free.

    lastly a quote (again from class): “The best of all deeds is to bring happiness to other Muslims by covering his nakedness, or satiating his hunger, or fulfilling and need of his.”

    many words of encouragement go out to our niqab and hijab wearing sisters. like YQ said, you are the last bastion of modesty in our deen. if we lose you, we will rapidly lose everything. stay strong. you do these things to please allah. reap your rewards in the hereafter.

    wasalam.

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  13. Ninjabi

    I just want to say for the Muslims who belittle Niqab, put it down and show no form of respect or support for it to keep in mind that the BEST of the women, the mothers of the believers wore it! That is enough of a reason for us to respect it, and be proud of it. This aside from the point of there being a possibility of it being fard but that’s for the Ulama to debate.

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  14. fausto biason

    Hi all
    I agree that everyone should dress as they please and practice their religion as they see fit.
    However you must appreciate that public security does come into the equation when someone is allowed to walk on a public place with the face covered.
    In Italy, where I come from, it has been forbidden to cover one’s face in public since 1861, when the then Kingdom of Italy came into existence, purely on the grounds of public order, nothing to do with Islamophobia, in fact at that time Italsy was 100% white, Italian and Roman Catholic – and still now it is far away from a true multicultural society.
    Those who unconditionally support the use of burka in public, can you please tell me how you plan to address the above mentioned public security concerns?
    Moreover, if a man like myself wanted to walk around with a balaclava, would you support his desire to do so?
    Should he not dress as he pleases?
    If not, why not?
    Patiently waiting for an answer

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    • SabrTruth

      I don’t see why someone covering their face in public should automatically be a ‘security concern’. In the middle east where I grew up, a lot of men cover their faces to keep the heat and the sand out of their faces. This has been their custom for centuries. No one feels in the least alarmed by that.
      While you can theorize all you want, the reality is that women have been functioning smoothly while covering their faces for centuries in a lot of societies. Even in certain western cultures, women would wear veils and it was never conisdered ‘alarming’
      have a read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veil

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      • fausto biason

        Actually in Britain the Niqab has been used a couple of times for things like robberies or by wanted terrorists or criminals to disguise themselves and flee the country.
        Also in Italy in the 70′s a policeman was gunned down in a public square in Milan by an anarchist with the face covered by a handkerchief: there were cameras everywhere, and plenty of pictures of this criminal while he was shooting the policeman, but guess what, he was never found.
        And since then the law [that no one can walk in public with the face covered, INCLUDING BURKA/NIQAB] has been strictly enforced, and a special law was passed few years ago making the burka/niqab ILLEGAL, and so it should be, full stop!
        If the british are happy to keep the niqab legal, fine by me, but as an Italian I am extremely proud that THE LAW OF THE REPUBLIC APPLIES TO EVERYBODY, REGARDLESS OF RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION.
        PROUD TO BE ITALIAN.
        Fausto
        PS: the Niqab is banned also in Muslim countries like Tunisia, and wearing it there can lead to stiff prison sentences.

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      • volleybeard

        by that logic halloween shoulda been banned a looong time ago in Italy.

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      • Gohar

        Your examples are poor.

        People fleeing at airports is dealt with by mandatory facial identification at airports. It doesn’t need a society-wide ban.

        If a mugger/robber is going to want to hide his identity, then he can use anything for this. If a miqaab is not available, then he’ll just use a mask or stocking over his head. Banning niqaab won’t stop these people or make it any harder for them.

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    • fausto biason

      I did study the Koran and I found no mentijon of the need to wear Nikab.

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      • Sista

        The Quran doesn’t mention how we should pray, but we pray 5 times a day in a specific manner.

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      • fausto biason

        That [the manner and the number of times you offer your prayers every day] does NOT interfere with my own right, however someone walking in public with their face covered does make me (and lots of other Westerners, plus Tunisians, Turks, etc) feel threatened.
        If you wish to wear Hijab or Jilbab or Abaya etc it is perfectly fine by me, but no way I can accept a face covered in public, whether it is niqab or balaclava or helmet, etc for the reasons outlined in previous postings.
        If you want to nmake us feel threatened with your unreasonable behaviour, then don’t start
        complaining of islamophobia or racism, cos I am getting quite sick of that.

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      • Amad

        fausto, perhaps you should get to know some Muslims, so you don’t feel threatened by niqabs. Perhaps you need to get out of Italy, visit some Muslim countries (I don’t count Tunisia as a prime example), and then perhaps you’ll stop feeling the desire to stamp your fears on someone’s freedoms.

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      • Ibn Masood

        Lol fausto my friend, why do you feel threatened by women who wear niqaab?

        It’s just a normal woman like anybody else, except she’s wearing a black covering over her face?

        I hope you’re not scared of every single woman on the street in case she might suddenly drop kick you, in which case I would take some self-esteem classes instead.

        But in all seriousness, get to know some Muslims dude, It’s natural for people to be scared of the things they don’t understand/ are not familiar with.

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      • Amad

        Thanks but no thanks. We have our religion and we are sure we can figure out what we need to do or not do. If tomorrow I read the bible, it won’t make a Christian scholar, and neither will you appreciate me giving you lessons on trinity.

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  15. MR

    Wallahi, we should thank the American government for allowing Niqaabis to walk the streets freely.

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      • nav

        a lot of the posters dislike everything about the west and its people, who are you kidding?

        btw, doesn’t the islamic thinkers society enjoy a lot of support from people on this site? given the extreme conservative views that is propagated on a regular basis, it doesn’t strike me as odd.

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  16. fausto biason

    Basically the law of the land whould apply to EVERYONE, fullstop, and the whim (cleverly disguised as religious piety) of those women to cover their faces should not be allowed to go unchallenged, and the burka/niqab purely and simply banned.

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    • Amad

      Interesting. So, if the law of the land tomorrow requires all women to go around bare-breasted, then everyone should follow it, right? Fullstop?

      IF that is the law and that is the land you yearn for, then never mention “democracy”, “freedom”, “human rights” again. Yes, each nation can choose whatever laws it wishes to adhere to, but then stop feeding us BS about your “enlightened ways”. You can’t have it both ways.

      Look to the USA… some Europeans left nearly 300 yrs ago to escape people like you.

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      • fausto biason

        There will never be such law in any country, but if it ever happened, you are perfectly free not to visit that country.
        As to the US, i went there, and it is the worst shithole I have ever seen, together with Saudi Arabian and Yemen.

        Beside Italy, there are quite a few nations in the EU (plus Tunisia and Turkey) where the Niqab is illegal.
        If you don’ agree with the laws in those countries, just don’t visit, and DON’T CALL US RACISTS AND NARROW-MINDED BIGOTS.
        WE ARE HAPPY TO KEEP THINGS THIS WAY, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.
        PROUD TO BE ITALIAN AND A CONSERVATIVE ROMAN CATHOLIC.
        Fausto

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      • slaveofAllah4lyf

        christian??? ur bible says the women shud cover her hair….if she doesnt thn sheve off her hair…….UR PAUL SAYS THT…..UR BIBLE SAYS WOMEN SHUD NOT BE ALLOWED TO OPEN THEIR MOUTH IN THE CHURCH……but ur churches dont believe all that….they think this is all crap (not me….ur own churches)……look at how Mary (may Gods peace be upon her) used to dress……u claim to be christians but do u really follow ur faith??? The Hijab is fard as i said its also in christianity…..but niqab (altho some scholars say thats also fard) most say that its optional….

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      • fausto biason

        In Croatia there are some naturist villages where you must walk around NAKED.
        If you don’t like it (and as a conservative catholic I hate it) you just don’t go there !!!

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      • Amad

        Would you call that place’s law democratic then? Would you consider the law of that land respecting human rights if they don’t allow you to wear clothes?

        Also know that the culture and norms of lands from ancient times has always been to legislate minimum clothing requirements, and never maximum. You can’t spin norms on your head to make a point. Nakedness does cause harm in the society, while people wearing more clothes than you like doesn’t, except for bigots. That’s the fact.

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      • fausto biason

        No, what I meant is that if you are not prepared to take off ALL your clothes you don’t go into these naturist villages.
        Outside these naturist villages, the rest of Croatia is a very conservative Roman Catholic country (that fiercely resisted TurkishOttoman occupation for more than 2 centuries) and going naked in public will simply land you in jail.
        I don’t know Croatian laws regarding Niqab but I do know that in the nearby republic of Slovenia (another fiercely conservative Roman Catholic country that for several centuries acted as the guardian of the Austrian empire against the invading Turkish Ottoman hordes) the Niqab is illegal.

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      • nav

        many people escaped from muslim countries to the USA to escape intolerant islamists like yourself amad. is there any wonder why non-muslims from muslim countries hate muslims? assyrians, pakistani christians, indonesian christians, iraqi jews, copts, all dislike muslims because muslims do not speak out often on the persecution of non-muslims in muslim countries.

        heck, ive never seen you once condemn the taliban and their ilk for their treatment of women. face it, most people here have no problem throwing acid on women who do not wear the niqab, yet they act like persecuted people here? get over yourself amad.

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      • Ahmad AlFarsi

        You said:

        face it, most people here have no problem throwing acid on women who do not wear the niqab

        Dude, calm down and get a grip. I don’t think anyone here supports throwing acid on anyone’s face.

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      • nav

        yet this blog tends to attract the crazy salafi nutters, especially ones that post on islamicawakening, huh?

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  17. Abdullah Badr

    Great article.

    This is a satirical video by an interesting character, in response to a video that asked people to ‘Burn the Burqa’.

    I encourage you to watch it and understand the profundity of his statements:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJFHMKsqMnI

    The point is that all societies have some boundaries; in America a woman will get arrested for walking bare-breasted. Therefore she is being restricted by the government in what she wears. Its just a question of what is ‘bared’ and what isn’t…

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  18. Abdullah

    ASA,

    I support niqab because it’s awesome to have all those women who look like ninjas walking around. Ninjas rock! :-)

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      • Alima

        Standard! I remember when we went to Canada and me and a niqaabi sister spent a few hours on the da’wah table. We had a young kid come and say… Mum it’s a ninja!

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  19. AbuMisbah

    Assalam alaikum,

    My Salutations to all the sisters who adorn burkha and niqab. Salaam on all of you. If you listen to people like sarkozy and likes, and get rid of your burqa (niqab), tomorrow they may ask you why are you wearing hijab, and then after that they may ask you why are you actually wearing.. (anything) ….Sorry to say, but hopefully my sisters got the point.

    Again! Salaam on all of you! Truly. Aurat (aurah) means something which is hidden or something which has to be hidden, and there is a huge wisdom behind it.

    And Allah Knows Best.

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    • fausto biason

      I do like hijab: after all is a requirement not only in the Koran but strictly speaking also in the Bible (in fact my mother always wears the headscarf when she goes to church).
      As to the niqab, sorry, but my concerns about public security just won’t go away, no Islamophobia or bigotry of any kind in the equation.

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      • Amad

        Reading this comment from you, it seems that you are a reasonable person. While I myself don’t believe niqab is obligatory, I fully support the right of those who wish to adorn it.

        Please read Sarkozy’s statement. There is hardly any mention of security threat. Even he knows that won’t be credible. It is all about his sense of “religious persecution” that he wants to save Muslim women from. Talk about having a superiority complex!

        Also, this isn’t just about niqab. Why did they ban hijab in French schools? Yes, they banned all religious expressions, but everyone knows that it was about the hijab issue. So, you see, it isn’t about security or niqab. It’s about Sarkozy’s desire to have his superficial opinion buy him votes and dominate over a minority’s right to free expression. I promise you that today it is niqab, tomorrow it will certainly be hijab. And the school banning is clear evidence of that.

        So, I do hope that you will look at this issue holistically and see Sarkozy for the crook he is. He isn’t “sincere” to the people… he is just using an issue to make himself look good.

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      • Drm

        I don’t think this Italian nutter is a reasonable person at all. Speaking of Italy, Berlusconi is himself embroiled in a sex scandal involving an 18 year old. When all other childish arguments(bringing up Tunisia(run by a francophone junta) and Turkey(run by a secular junta) proves nothing) fail he brings up “public security” to justify his racism. These people are mentally ill, only a xenophobe or pervert would obsess so much over womans clothing. The biggest security in Europe are neo-Nazis, many of whom are active in politics and using fear of non-whites to win elections.
        It’s clear to me that Europeans want an adversarial relationship with Muslims, and their provocations against our community are increasing. I think its high time we stopped playing nice and expose the inherent inferiority and racism of their culture, no holds barred. I mean seriously, their culture is a failure, they are declining in population and whose fault is that? This whole stink is about demographics.

        Incest? No problem!
        Beastiality? No problem!
        Racism” It’s all good!
        Rampant drug usage? No problem!
        Sexual anarchy? It’s all good!

        Burqa? No way!

        Time for a “stop westernization” campaign across the Islamic world. No middle ground with Nazi and fascist scum.

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      • fausto biason

        Hey drm
        First of all, I hate Berlusconi.
        In fact I always vote for the anti-racist party Italia dei Valori led by former judge Antonio Di Pietro.
        http://www.antoniodipietro.com/en/
        http://www.antoniodipietro.com/en/biography.php
        Interestlingly Mr Di Pietro, a devout Catholic, has many times said that he regards Islam as a great religion.
        I agree with him, mainly because my wife is Muslim, so no way you can call me islamophobic or racist, and I too oppose incest, bestiality, drug abuse and sexual anarchy.
        As I said before, we Italians are afraid of people walking in public with their faces covered because of several criminal episodes that happened during our “Years of lead” in which home-grown terrorists turned up at protests with their faces covered, shot some policemen dead and then just disappeared and were never found, therefore nothing against Islam at all
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Years_of_Lead_(Italy)

        BTW, it seems that in Iran and Saudi Arabia these things (alcohol and drug abuse, sexual sins, etc…) are just as rampant as in EU, but they are just done undercover, under a veil of secrecy …

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      • fausto biason

        Yes, here is the picture of the episode I am talking about (sorry, it is not available in English, only in Italian)

        http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Custra

        and actually the culprit eventually turned himself in, but many years later.

        Now do you understand why italians are wary of faces covered in public?

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      • slaveofAllah4lyf

        if you are concerned about security thn i must say tht the naturist villiages must be the safest place coz no 1 can hide a weapon ryt?? bro/sis it doesnt work lyk that…if some1 hides a weapon in his pants…n does a crime with it….will you go to tell sarcrazy tht ban pants also?? lol…

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      • slaveofAllah4lyf

        also temme out of 10s of millions who wear hijab how many commit crimes lyk this?? 10-20, maybe 100s i dont think its more thn that…..coz of only 100 ppl will u say 10s of millions to change their path??

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      • slaveofAllah4lyf

        As I said before, we Italians are afraid of people walking in public with their faces covered because of several criminal episodes that happened during our “Years of lead” in which home-grown terrorists turned up at protests with their faces covered, shot some policemen dead and then just disappeared and were never found

        Look @ the big picture, even if 100s of cases lyk this happen. But because of the burqa how many women are safe from the crimes that are happening in the western world. Highest rate of rape, adultary, all this is in the western world. And guess what? Its the least in Saudi Arabia. Reply to this: If a triplet sisters who are equally beautiful are walking in a park, 1 is wearing the most common western cloths, mini-skirts, full make-up, etc. The 2nd is wearing just the hijab, no niqab. The third is wearing a Burqa (Niqab inclusive). And there is a boy who is waiting for a catch. Who do you think will he choose? Next senario, just the two sisters, the hijabi and the niqabi, now which sister will he tease? 3rd senario, only the 3rd sister, will he even tease the girl if he’s in his right mind?

        it seems that in Iran and Saudi Arabia these things (alcohol and drug abuse, sexual sins, etc…) are just as rampant as in EU, but they are just done undercover, under a veil of secrecy

        No one said it doesnt happen, but its not as rampant as it is in the western world. And about secrecy, if all this happens public, then most people will be encouraged to do it more, because no one will stop them, except their own parents and its obvious they wont listen to them.

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  20. Leila

    @ Amatullah

    I was being scarcastic, i am not going to work naked. God has not commanded us to wear masks.

    @ Amad

    The social boundaries of French society sees niqab as unreasonable. It is not a matter of what clothes you choose to cover your body with but the FACE. It is not part of the social norm for young men to wear balaclavas ( not uncommon in ghetto poor areas) or women with niqabs. The social boundaries at your workplace demand that you do not come to work wearing pyjamas even though you are not harming anyone. This rule might change over a period of time but it is the accepted norm now.

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    • Amatullah

      Actually Leila, the ayaat concerning the covering of women can be interpreted to mean niqab, and many scholars like ibn Abbass took the verses to mean just that. Please research before claiming what Allah has or has not commanded. The scholars have debated this since the time of the Companions, so it is not our place to state what is right or wrong because our deen does not work that way. The minimum ruling that niqab takes is mustahab, highly recommended. Please read br Ahmad al Farsi’s comment to “sister”.

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      • Leila

        Sorry but the scholars are not prophets and their interpretation could be wrong or right. It is open to be challenged and questioned. It is my place to state my interpretation on any matter based on my reading of the Quran, but it doesnt make it the right opinion. If a scholar who lived in 17th century Arabia thought it was forbidden for women to travel alone, his opinion could be different if he was alive today because he would take into account the developments that have been made. No interpretation of a scholar is set in a stone. Same with niqab, open for interpretation. I will say it again, God has not commanded us to wear masks.

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      • Gohar

        He commanded women to cover their beauty when in public. That’s in the Quran.

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      • Leila

        If God commanded me to wear a mask then he would not have ordered you to lower your gaze.

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      • Gohar

        According to that logic, the breasts too can be uncovered since, after all, I am commanded to lower my gaze.

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      • Leila

        Your face is what people notice about you, it is the first thing they identify about you. Since women also find a man’s face attractive why dont you cover it like you cover your private parts? I would not be asking you this question if you did not equate the breasts of a female to her face.

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      • Insertclevername

        Leila, you just equated the brain of a woman with the brain of a man.
        Biochemistry says otherwise.

        Men and women are equal in rank, but that doesn’t imply they are equal in structure, personality, mindset, behavior etc etc.

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      • Gohar

        Leila, it is women who have been ordered to cover the beauty, not men.
        Both have been ordered to guard their private parts, but only women have been told to cover their beauty. That is why I am disputing your claim that the Allah has not ordered the face to be covered. It doesn’t work for you to turn it around and ask why men don’t do the same, simply because the order to cover beauty has only been given to women.

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      • slaveofAllah4lyf

        No sister, his opinion could not be different…coz even of he is not a Prophet…..Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) was….nd its in a hadith that a woman should not travel alone. God has not commanded the woman the niqab, but he did make it better to be worn…..If one scholar says something, n another scholar something different…you could chose wat suits you most, what you think is right. But if all the scholars are of one opinion, then you have no right to go against them because you are not a scholar yourself. And all the scholars believe if not fard niqab is atleast mustahab.

        This is not your field of work, but these things are the field of works of the scholars themselves. They are experienced in it. Its like you are saying a boy who doesnt know how to ride a cycle can defeat a motorcycle racer without ever riding a bike.

        And just as their interpretation can be ryt or wrong, your interpretationc also can be right or wrong.

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      • Leila

        As a female and male we both have to cover our breasts, why do you insist i wear a mask because you chose to define my face which is my identity as a “beauty”?

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      • Gohar

        In what world are you living?

        If you were to ask 100 people to name a beautiful part of the body, which answer do you think would be most popular? Your forearms? Your lower calf? What????

        The only reason you don’t accept that the face is part of a woman’s beauty/zeenat is because you don’t like its implications for the meaning of the verse.

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      • Gohar

        And actually, I don’t insist you cover your face. I accept that the sahabah differed on this, and that is sufficient tafseer of this verse for me. But you have mentioned that you do not accept their tafseer as having any religious authority, so I am merely putting your interpretation under scrutiny.

        You’ve already failed the part about men having to cover their breasts/juyoob. They plainly do not need to do so.

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    • Amad

      What if the social boundary doesn’t like legs covered. Why are you so sure that it is just the face? How about the hijab ban in schools?

      “social boundaries” have to be reasonable and not restrict a minority’s right to free expression, as long as that expression is not harmful to others. Your flexible social boundary norms is a slippery path that leads eventually to total repression by the majority upon the minority. As many Europeans would say, been there, done that.

      As far as work is concerned, if my religion requires to me to wear a beard or wear a hijab or wear a yarmulke, and those pieces of clothing don’t interfere with my daily work duties, then the workplace has to accomodate that. Bringing up a pajama example is not representative of the discussion here. There is a reason Muslim women wear niqab– it isn’t because they just want to. It’s because they feel it’s their religious duty. Freedom of religion ma’am.

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  21. Leila

    If there was a ban on mini skirts in Muslim majority countries because it was seen as undignified, would MM be advocating for the wearer’s choice, freedom and prerogative? If your article was based on religious right to wear niqab, it would be open for debate. But freedom and choice is not just about rights but also duties (the duty not to cover face in public in a secular country and duty not to wear mini skirts in a conservative society).

    Legs do not form part of our identity, i find your examples absurd to be honest. If my face is covered i would need to uncover it when i pick my children up from school, when i go to withdraw money from bank, when i am travelling, taking photograph, if i am stopped by police etc.

    You can “feel” it is part of your religious duty to marry 4 women, it doesnt mean the country should offer you the freedom to do so. Niqab is not recognised as a religious duty regardless of your feelings.

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    • Amad

      If there was a ban on mini skirts in Muslim majority countries because it was seen as undignified, would MM be advocating for the wearer’s choice, freedom and prerogative?

      If those countries claimed to be “democratic” and beacons of light in terms of freedoms, then we definitely could be having a discussion on that. If you want to be a theocracy or be a dictatorship, then that’s fine, legislate what you want, but say it with a straight face.

      Your examples of the “impediments” due to niqaab can be each answered easily by women who wear niqab everyday, who still pick up children, still go to court, still withdraw money from the bank, and still travel.

      And Sarkozy never brought up these “conveniences” as the reason for his problem. He wants to shove “liberty” and “women’s dignity” down our throats as his reason for bringing up the niqab issue. So, I think it is better for you to let Sarkozy speak for HIMSELF, instead of coming up with other reasons that he himself didn’t bring up.

      By the way, you still haven’t answered why hijab was banned in French schools… why that is outside the “social norms” for French society? Convenient to ignore because it doesn’t fit the “security threat”, “women’s ability to function” story?

      Finally, Leila, I fully understand the freedom vs. order trade-off. America deals with it everyday but never once did religious dressing come into play here. Why do you think Europe has a bigger problem than America? And what order are we talking about here? What duties are we talking about here that are being traded off due to the niqaab? Lets stop with the sloganeering and come up with REAL answers. Otherwise, the hollowness of your argument is ringing as false as the womanizer you are supporting!

      P.S. it is NOT a religious duty to marry 4 women. There is no comparison with Niqaab… try again.. harder.

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      • Leila

        Your definition of a democracy and freedom is different to mine, i dont define it as “anything goes” because there is no unlimited freedom. It is not a religious duty to marry 4, but it is your religious right if you want to marry more than one and France like almost all western countries are against polygny, why differentiate the niqab then which you consider to be a religious right?

        The discussion is about wearing niqab in public, not hijab. Banning religious symbols from secular institutions is different to banning it in public. Two different discussions.

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      • Amad

        So, I cannot bring the hijab up, which is entirely related to niqab and is the obvious next step… yet you can bring up polygamy, something which 99% of Muslims don’t practice, and which is *mubah*, not fard? While niqab is either mustahab or fard depending on the interpretation the Muslim woman CHOOSES to follow.

        My definition of freedom is the standard definition. I am not stupid to not recognize the limitations of freedom. I think you need to reread my previous comment where I mention the struggle between order and freedom. But order takes precedence only when it affects other people’s freedoms. Let me repeat that so you don’t ignore it: “Order involving curtailing an individual’s freedoms takes precedence only when it affects others’ freedoms”. And the acid test for this is very stringent. It is not what the majority aspires for, rather there has to be proven and legitimate issues beyond doubt in order to reach the level of curtailing freedoms for individuals.

        Your utter despise for niqab, calling it a mask, highlights your own insensitivity and disregard for the opinion of others. You see the problem is that while you want everyone to appreciate your opinions, you don’t even have the courtesy to appreciate others’ views. You don’t have to like or agree with an opinion to appreciate it. That’s the golden rule of reasonable discourse. Learn it.

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  22. Ibn AbuAisha

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Excellent Article. Barak Allahu Feeki Sister Sadaf. May Allah accept your deeds and Bless your family with the BEST in this Life and the Aakhira. Ameen.

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  23. KING786

    Mr Nicolas Sarkozy may be happy about getting married to a Carla Bruni how moves around proudly sing songs about her 30 lovers, if Nicolas Sarkozy has no problem about getting married to a prostitute , they why does he have problem with burka , he just trying to deflect attention from a failing French economy.

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  24. AsimG is NOT a sister

    We need more articles like this!

    (Sure I’m a Muslim halaal feminist, but whatever)

    I guess when you use your wife for political gain, divorce her after you win the election and then not too long after marry a super famous model/singer while in office , you just might not like women dressing themselves with dignity.

    And sisters, leave the niqaab/hijab debate behind.

    You don’t have to agree that it is fardh (I don’t), but give those sisters the respect they deserve.

    The greatest female scholar ever, Aisha (ra), wore the niqaab. That’s all that needs to be said

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    • fausto biason

      Hi there
      one word of caution regarding Aisha, cos she seems to be quite a divisive figure in the Islamic world.

      In fact for the Sunnis she was a heroine, but for the Shias she was a callous and manipulative woman.
      Some Shia scholars even believe that Prophet Mohammed did not die of a natural death, but was poisoned by Aisha’s female Jewish slave on the orders of Aisha and Abu Bakr, in order to prevent Ali from becaming the next Caliph.
      I don’t know if that is true, and quite frankly I don’t like cospiracy theories, but – from an Islamic viewpoint- Aisha in herself was not a Quranic figure and therefore part of the Revelation.
      According to some scholars Prophet Mohammed married Aisha in order to “anoint” her, to give her some authority as a unifying figure in the Muslim world after his death.
      If this was Mohammed’s expectation, it is evident that Aisha did not live up to it.

      PS: one thing I have forgotten to mention in the previous postings is that I have a Muslim wife, who prays 5 times per day and observes Ramadan, but does not wears the hijab, and niqab is totally out of the question.

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      • slaveofAllah4lyf

        SubhanAllah, Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) tried to kill the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and succeeded in doin it. SubhanAllah, if you think about it, its as if they are saying Allah left the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) to be killed by munafiqeen. Auzubillah min asshaytan irrajeem. Moreover Allah allowed the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) to take munafiqeen as his companions?? Nauzu Billa. If you listen to the rafideen or rawafid whatever it’s called, this is what you’ll believe in. Anoint? can you please specify your source for this claim.

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      • fausto biason

        OK, I don’t usually discuss religious subjects with my wife, but after having had a word with her, now I understand that those ideas about Aisha are ideas of extremist Shias who still resent the fact that Mohammed’s first successor was not Ali, so please can everybody here accept my apologies if I have caused any offence?

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      • Ahmad AlFarsi

        It is very good of you to admit so readily that you were mistaken when presented with the truth. I pray Allah guides you to Islam; if you research it some more, I’m sure you will find just how beautiful of a way of life it is.

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      • Sadaf

        Bismillah

        The virtues and excellence of A’ishah Bint Abi Bakr are numerous. I am afraid the allegations made against her, by the Shias or others, are totally false. She is considered an important source of klnowledge of Islamic fiqh/jurisprudence and a superior narrator of ahadeeth in Islam. Please read up reliable Islamic literature about her.

        Are you a Muslim too?

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      • Amad

        I think you are listening to the wrong people. It’s possible your wife is shia’ and I can see how you could be misinformed. The conspiracy theories you mention are not only awful but also offensive to most Muslims. I have never heard a moderate shia say those things. How could a woman who loved the Prophet (S), the only man in her life from a very young age, do anything horrendous like that. This is not even common sense.

        And really this has nothing to do with Umm ul Mumineen Aisha (RD). All of the Prophet’s (S) wives covered themselves.

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      • fausto biason

        OK, here are some sources concerning the “conspiracy theory” of Aisha poisoning Mohammed

        Edited: Sorry, but we do not tolerate slander against the mothers of the believers here.

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      • fausto biason

        OK, again, EXTREMELY SORRY if I have offended anyone.
        However, can anyone answer the following question? who is this guy who is spreading these ideas on Youtube?
        I understand that he is Iranian, isn’t he?
        Maybe he is quite close to these crooked and corrupt ayatollahs that make up Iran’s ruling class.
        Mmm, if so, there is nothing to be surprised about.
        Like many people in this world, I was horrified at the way the ruling ayatollahs have handled the recent STOLEN elections.
        In some constituencies the number of votes even exceeded the number of registered voters.
        What a miracle!!! Congratulations, Khamenei, not even the Biblical Jesus would have managed such a miracle !!!

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      • Amad

        Fausto, apologies accepted. My advice is to avoid getting into controversial issues, because every religion has them, and if you focus on them, you’ll miss the real beauty of Islam.

        So, before getting into the details of things and worrying about niqab vs hijab… I highly recommend that you study the basics of Islam. Start with Islamic monotheism.

        Try this link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/261663/The-Fundamentals-of-Tawheed
        or this: http://d1.islamhouse.com/data/en/ih_books/signal/en_The_Fundamentals_Of_Tawheed.pdf

        Even if you just accept Islam and pray, and do little else, you can at least be counted among the Muslims, and that is very important issue, especially for your wife. You see, in the vast majority of sunni scholarship, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man. Now since it is already done, you can help your wife, and ease her burden of being in something that is potentially a big issue for her religion, by studying Islam and accepting it if you accept the fundamentals. Otherwise, I fear for your wife’s hereafter, may Allah forgive her and forgive all of us. Accept this as a sincere advice from someone concerned with you and your wife’s betterment.

        peace.

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      • fausto biason

        Yes, amad, bu tcan you please tell me who that chap [on Youtube] is, and what interest he has to create such controversies?
        Just pure curiosity.
        Anyway, thanks for your advice re my wife, really appreciated, honestly.

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      • Volleybeard

        You should be careful when picking a standpoint on the Iran issue, the information we’re getting is unscientific and skewed.

        According to this research by an independent organization, Ahmadenijad won by LESS than he was supposed to, their polling shows a 2:1 voting favor for the current President.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/jun/15/iran-election-polling

        Don’t get the wrong idea from me though, I’m not pro-anybody. It’s very difficult to trust any of the world leaders these days, my concern is not with the politics, but with the people. And it frustrates me to see them being used as pons to serve the manipulative agenda of the men behind the scenes.

        Politics suck, the more one learns the more one realizes how we’ve screwed everything up. But it’s necessary to have the information we need to face today’s world.

        However I love gaining more Islamic knowledge, because you really learn how easy Allah has made everything for us, and that type of knowledge is much, much higher on priority and more critical for a clear perspective on living a fruitful life.

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      • AsimG is NOT a sister

        why is it whenever we talk about women in Islam every possible issue is brought up except the reality that Islam is the only religion that gives true dignity to women and has been doing it for centuries?

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      • Ahmad AlFarsi

        I don’t know if that is true, and quite frankly I don’t like cospiracy theories, but – from an Islamic viewpoint- Aisha in herself was not a Quranic figure and therefore part of the Revelation.

        Actually, believe it or not, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) IS a Quranic figure. Allah revealed verses in Surat Nur of the Quran clearing Aisha from the charge of adultery (which some hypocrites were spreading about her).

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  25. muslimah

    assalamu ‘alaykum

    I dont believe niqab is obligatory but I fully support and respect those sisters who think it is. I just dont want anyone looking at me like i’m a s**t if i ‘m ok uncovering my face in the presence of men.

    this article is nice, but I personally know sisters who are forced to wear hijab/niqab. my parents themselves were big on hijab, and to be honest, i only covered my hair to please them and NOT Allah. I took it off whenever I had the chance to. Alhamdulillah, growing up, Allah guided me and I chose to cover myself.
    I know a couple of niqabis who act like they are superior or something. I mean a sister in niqab might have serious issues in other areas of the deen that a hijabi or even a non-hijabi sister might not have. Im not trying to degrade any niqabis, but I think we should quit being so arrogant and try to befriend and reach out to our sisters who appear to be *less practicing*. Ive got friends who dont wear hijab, but i didnt walk out on them. Maybe they will see me wearing hijab and learn? maybe I’ll learn something from them? there’s something to learn from everyone no matter how bad they seem. just humble down for verily, you wont enter jannah if you had pride the weight of an atom (or was it a grain?)
    again, this is not an attack on niqabis. it’s just a reminder for everyone (and i remind myself first) regardless of your choice of apparel, gender, or ethnicity.

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  26. muslimah

    a sister:

    “Oh, and the reason Hijabi sisters like me react strongly against the Niqaab is that by wearing it, you make a statement that the Hijab is not enough, that a woman needs the Niqaab to truly please Allah (swt). I take total offense to that statement.”

    by wearing the hijab are you making a statement that your better than sisters who dont cover their heads but dress modestly? im not tryin to justify the hijabless sisters..but you get my point? maybe it’s your own insecurities that make you feel that way.

    ” So the fabric does not make one necessarily closer to Allah, it is the action and faith of the believer.”

    isnt wearing that ‘fabric’ an *action”?

    “I believe a woman who is active in helping alleviate the suffering of the poor and needy is much closer to God than a woman who sits at home, afraid to mingle with men. She gets her reward, but the reward of those who leave their homes for the sake of Allah are much higher”

    who are you to decide who gets more reward? Please leave that job for Allah. everyone’s life and circumstances are different and they’ll be judged accordingly. Wallahu’alam.

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  27. Gohar

    Niqaab stops germs spreading when people cough and sneeze in public.

    It should be mandatory for everyone.

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  28. SaqibSaab

    Allahu AKBAR! By far the most profound paragraph:

    There are many other dresses that are equally, if not more, uncomfortable for woman to wear; that never stopped them from wearing them, did it? Be it the hideous combination of garish angel-wings, gaudy underwear and monstrous boots that starved, underweight, so-called ‘icons’ of fashion strut on the catwalk amid scores of cameras (where are the champions of women’s dignity now? Oh sorry, they’re probably drooling too profusely to be able to talk!), or the bandage designer dresses that fitness-freak celebrities squeeze themselves into for public events, or the voluminous swathes of fabric that Eastern women meticulously fold around their bellies every day, accompanied by a clinging excuse-for-a-blouse, to go about their domestic duties in this traditional sari, taking pains and tolerating discomfort to carry off their preferred choice of dress is something women have been doing since centuries. Trust me, donning a full-length cloak over loose, comfortable clothing and tying a piece of cloth over your face is actually much easier to carry off than those male designers’ couture creations for women, that are supposed to send us into frenzied, money-busting jaunts of retail therapy. It seems while Ms. Khan did endeavor to don the burka for a television programme, she forgot to cast off the walls of prejudice and disdain from her mind before doing it.

    YES! And the case for article of the year:

    And don’t pity us, please. Pity the botoxed, image-obssessed teenaged girl with the eating disorder, roaming around barely clothed on the beach, wondering if the sun is highlighting her cellulite, or if her body is in anyway less than perfect for the world to judge.

    Win.

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  29. abdullah

    I would ask the surgeons and nurses in the OT to remove their veils. It is a question of security. It also is a barrier in interaction in the OT.

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    • Sadaf

      Surgeons and other medical staff wear face-masks in the OT already, don’t they? For medical reasons?

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  30. shazia

    as salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

    some reflections on this article and the comments that followed it:

    1. I can completely understand the anger and the offense felt at such statements by Sarkozy and many others like him… and I can definitely sympathize with the feelings and the sentiments of the author of this piece… but at the same time I have to say that I feel a bit uncomfortable with a particular tone that is used sometimes in some articles on women in Islam… that puts all Western women in the same category as image-obsessed, sex-crazed, etc. I think that just as we find it offensive when people label us or judge/ categorize all of us in one blind sweep, we shouldn’t make that same mistake with others. The points being made in the article are absolutely valid, namely that it seems that people are being selective in what types of ‘freedom’ they are really willing to permit, and how hypocritical that is especially from a nation that prides itself on giving people a sense of liberty and freedom and creative expression… and being critical of the media and other elements of society that relentlessly pump out all these ideas about image and beauty and what that does to the spiritual and psychological well-being of women in that society… but again like I said, that stereotyping of Western women themselves really takes away from these valid points, in my opinion.

    2. I think when these types of things occur its a good time for introspection. I’m not saying that everything is ‘our’ fault, and there will always be people in the world hostile to our religion and to the believers – but we should step back and critically assess why things are happening the way they are. What type of religious and political climate is there in France that would permit a leader to make such anti-Islamic comments? I would argue that these types of comments and attitudes are condoned because the common people have no understanding about our deen, and whose fault is that really? What have our dawah efforts been and how constructive have they been?

    3. I want to tread very carefully in making this point and I want to begin with the caveat that I firmly believe that niqab is a part of our deen, that most scholars consider it mustahabb in most circumstances, and some that it is wajib. At the same time I believe that in the realm or arena of valid differences of opinion of our scholars there is room for Muslims to practice so that different objectives are fulfilled and different circumstances can be dealt with accordingly. For some sisters in the West I’m sure wearing niqab, and in so doing treading the footsteps of the noble mothers of the believers in their dress, is one of the most commendable things for her to do. At the same time, may I put forward the suggestion that for some sisters, wearing proper hijab – without the niqab – allows for her to work in different spheres and do different things, that are perhaps equally meritorious in the eyes of Allah? Why does it have to be one or the other – halal or haram – when in fact the way our scholarly tradition has developed has actually allowed for this ‘flexibility’ in a sense?

    I will say it more bluntly – Brother, Sister – If I am a woman who is a layperson (not a scholar) and I am following the ijtihad of a legitimate scholar who says that niqab is not a requirement – who are you to do inkaar of that? And if I follow this opinion and am able to do positive things in my community or in the field of dawah or what have you, how can you say that this is not a meritorious course or a course that Allah will love for me to take?

    4. The issues that were raised in the comments about some Muslim women feeling uncomfortable with niqabis are very interesting ones, because I believe they are very common. I think it is in part due to a feeling of being judged, which comes from feelings of insecurity in the people around the niqabi, and usually not from the niqabi herself! :) It’s the same phenomenon I think, with a hijabi around women who do not wear the hijab, or a sister who wears jilbab around those who don’t. These are the types of issues that take away from the feeling of sisterhood between us and lead to division, groups, backbiting, resentment, etc. Its a place where shaytan and our nufus really come in and cause our hearts to be divided. We need to be mature enough and gentle and kind enough with each other, even if we differ in our practices and understanding, to be able to connect with one another and form a community. Standing shoulder to shoulder, facing the Qiblah is really such a beautiful metaphor for what we should be doing in our communities; in the end, no matter what our understanding or methodology or level of practice is, we are all seeking and hoping and yearning for our hearts to be in line and in connection with Him, and Allah also commands us to stand together and be close with one another so we must do that as well.

    I ask for Allah (swt) to bestow on us His love, and to want khayr for us, and in so doing grant us deep understanding of our deen, for our Noble Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) said that when Allah desires good for someone He grants them tafaqquh (deep and proper understanding) of our deen. May He grant us soft and kind hearts with one another and make us firm and strong in our dealings with those hostile to us and to His religion, and may He grant us in every interaction and every relationship wisdom, refinement, nobility, and a high standard of adab and akhlaq like that of our Prophet salAllahu alyahi wa salam. Ameen.

    Allah knows best.

    wasalaam,
    shazia

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  31. hilas

    The haters have killed one muslim sister in germany over hijab. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raajioon

    Cairo – A woman stabbed to death in a German court was an Egyptian who had sued her attacker after he insulted her for wearing the Islamic headscarf, Egyptian newspapers reported on Friday.

    Marwa al-Sherbini, 32, who was killed in a court in Dresden on Wednesday, was the wife of Egyptian academic Elwi Ali Okaz who was also hurt in the incident and is now in critical condition in hospital, the state-owned Al-Akhbar reported.

    The attacker stabbed Sherbini “shortly before she was to give evidence in an appeal lodged by the man against a conviction for insulting her over wearing the hijab,” said the state-owned Egyptian Gazette.

    The 28-year-old man, identified only as Axel W, was overpowered and was being investigated for manslaughter over the killing of the woman, a spokesman for the Dresden prosecutor’s office said.

    Magdi al-Sayed, press officer at the German embassy in Cairo, said the case was isolated and did not reflect German attitude towards Muslims.

    “It is a criminal act. It has nothing to do with persecution against Muslims,” Sayed told the Gazette.

    http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=68&art_id=nw20090703111139555C570353

    “moderate” statement by magdi to deflect the issue

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  32. HelpASistaOut- Make Dua For Me Please

    Asalamu Alaykum

    I was just talking to my cousin about this issue the other day. I have always wanted to wear the niqab but had the biggest roadblock in my way, my parents. I barely even mentioned that i was interested in wearing it to my mother before i could say anything, i started getting yelled at.

    What hurts me/upsets me the most is when people like my cousins and aunties that say that am only causing a problem for myself. The funniest excuse is “we are in america, you can wear that in saudi or the UK” where its accepted more but not in the U.S.????

    We dont do what we think will please Allah because of our friends/family but seeing as shaytan makes the simple things really hard in our head dua’s are need to help make this transition easier.

    Please make dua for me, Sarkozy isnt here in my home or city but shaytan is! Tips/talking points would be nice as well.

    Jazakhum Allahu Khairan in advance!

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    • Volleybeard

      I went through a lot of trouble from family and fellow muslims when i started growing my beard. But the benefits farrr outweigh the difficulties. May Allah increase you in imaan and guide you along this path of deen.

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    • Sadaf

      Aww, I am so touched to see your burning desire to do something which you know will cause problems. Masha’Allah. May Allah reward you immensely for your sincerity in His path.

      I also sort of had a flashback by reading your comment, because some of my relatives also objected to the niqab, some with extremely rude words. I went ahead with it, although it is much easier to do here in Pakistan, and did face a lot of criticism for it, but Allah made me steadfast. I did not and still do not want to give it up, alhamdulillah, despite the opposition.

      Once a sister starts niqab, many skeptics assume she won’t last long in doing it, and it’s a fact that there are many sisters whom I see after a few years in the street and they are no longer doing it. So, starting niqab should be based on 100% conviction and only when one really, really wants to do it. After the passage of time, when people see that you are serious, they’ll leave you alone, insha’Allah.

      I pray that Allah grants you the strength to start niqab and be steadfast upon this decision, because it is a tough nut to crack in the West.

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  33. Ameera Khan

    I’m a bit sad that this comment is going to be # 146 and I hope people will read it still, particularly the MM staff. That’s because I’ve got something really cool to share, which I hope could be added to the blog post on the top of this page.

    Yvonne Ridley’s article of 30th June is a true SLAP in Sarkozy’s face (literally ofcourse ‘cuz slapping the face isn’t allowed in Islam)… I really enjoyed reading her analysis of the whole situation.

    You can find her article here:

    http://yvonneridley.org/yvonne-ridley/articles/anarchy-in-the-uk-7.html

    Here’s a selection from her article:

    Reading the weekend newspaper opinion pages and columnists, I was amazed at how many supposedly intelligent, feministas fell for the Sarkozy bull. But they did – hook, line and sinker exhibiting an astonishing shallowness in their writing.

    I genuinely have a feeling Sarkozy is one of these weak-kneed, lily-livered men who trembles at the thought of empowered women. And I think the sight of a woman in a burka makes him=2 0feel inferior.

    Could it be that because his wife – as beautiful as she is – has bared all for every man on the planet to ogle, that the very sight of a burka-clad female makes him feel insecure in his own relationship?

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    • nav

      the same yvonne ridley who glorifies terrorists. this is what she said about abu musab al-zarqawi, amad would you think twice before posting garbage from this terrorist sympathizer?

      Edited: Please produce a link instead of reproducing an entire article. Also, please refrain from backbiting Islamic activists like Sr. Yvonne.

      yep, amad and the rest of this site have no shame in posting up garbage from someone who supports a terrorist scumbag. is this the type of woman you want non-muslims to see endorsing?

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      • nav

        it’s not back-biting if it’s the truth. (Editor: Actually, it’s backbiting if it’s the truth and slander if it’s not the truth.) you’re just upset that i’m exposing the fraud that this terrorist sympathizer is. let me guess, does muslimmatters endorse the rantings of sheikh omar bakri or anjem choudhary?

        i found it on ummahforums, and it was originally published on [i]Tajdeed[/i]

        and she referred to shamil basayev, the same scumbag who proudly took women and children hostage in beslan 5 years ago, as a shaheed.

        do you find it acceptable amad to endorse a woman who believes taking a school hostage is islamic?

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      • nav

        here is the link:

        With her description of David Miliband as ‘a gutless little weasel who lost more than his foreskin when he was circumcised’? Or with her assertion that the Chechen terrorist leader and architect of the Beslan school massacre, Shamil Basayev, was a ‘shaheed’ or martyr? After the Amman bombings in 2005, Ridley appeared to be reluctant to condemn the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Jordan. When Al-Zarqawi was denounced by his own family, she thought this ‘cowardly’ and said she would ‘rather put up with a brother like Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi any day than have a traitor or a sell-out for a father, son or grandfather’. In front of the right crowd she goes down a treat. She knows exactly which strings to pull and, judging by the footage I’ve seen, enjoys the attention. ‘Drinking Coca-Cola is like drinking the blood of Palestinian children!’ she will shout, and up go the cries of ‘Allahu Akbar!’ It’s not my place to question Ridley’s faith. But perhaps this – the attention, I mean – also plays its part in her agenda.

        once a hack, always a hack. honestly this site needs to watch who they endorse, because it will eventually come back to haunt them. if you guys support yvonne ridley, ask yourself do these statements have any islamic merit in them? muslims often claim that islam forbids the murder of innocents (which i am not disputing), but when hacks like ridley chime in and go against the grain, do you expect non-muslims to take you people seriously?

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      • Amad

        nav, it seems that you have a sinister agenda with your pathetic little guilt-by-association inneundos… seems you have been studying at the neocon school for slander studies.

        Unfortunately, we don’t have the time or the patience to deal with your trollish comments.

        Find another site to haunt. Bye bye.

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      • nav

        here’s the link from ummahforums… a site that that does not hide its support for terrorist apologists such as omar bakri and abu hamza.

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      • slaveofAllah4lyf

        nav…….just get lost dude….dont forget there r 10000s of websyts out there tht support the terrorist american government and the terrorist israelis…………so b4 point ur finger at us..point it at those syt which support the biggest of terrorists….get a grip over urself

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      • Amad

        Nav is gone… he can enjoy himself in the spam box with other bigots.

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  34. Admissionofdefeat

    Why delete my comment? If you don’t post it I will post it elsewhere so I can expose “the systematic censorship here on MM”…that could be a big story. Just respond to my points please.

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      • Ahmed

        A post over at Iesa’s Galloway article. There is systematic censorship here on MM and its making me angry. This website is simply propaganda.

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      • slaveofAllah4lyf

        with what name…….ahmed, admissionofdefeat or some other??

        n a question 4 u…why didnt they censor these two comments of your??

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  35. Gohar

    Some people are forced into marriage, it doesn’t mean you ban anybody from ever getting married again. Same with niqaabs.

    And in the west, we know many and i would guess many more are forced not to wear niqaab by parents, husbands, and through social disapproval and exclusion.

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      • Amina

        If Saudi arabia can impose a scarf, it’s not out of whack that a country bans it. Muslims should then just leave France if they are not happy. This earth is plenty big. Why don’t they try building up the motherlands and bring positive change there instead of countries that hate them…just a thought.

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      • Anna

        Actually, i think a better assessment of the situation is that Saudi Arabia has no business telling women that their choice of clothing is a criminal matter punishable by physical force, and neither does France.

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  36. Mohammed Hussain

    assalamu ‘alaykum,

    Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad looks at the recent controversy surrounding the burqa or niqab and responds to those who call for it to be banned. The Sheikh advices Muslims how to respond to the media onslaught according to the Quranic methodology.

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    • Gohar

      I’m glad to see that the BBC have finally picked this up.

      Essentially, she was a muslim lady who was being harassed by some racist, calling her words like ‘terrorist’ , ‘islamist’ and ‘slut’ and even trying tp pull her hihab off. He was fined, but the prosecutors felt this was too lenient and therefore she took a case against him. After she finished her statement in court, he jumped the cordon and attacked her stabbing her some 18 times in a 30 second frenzied onslaught. He husband desperately tried to intervene, but was himself too shot by the court security guards.

      Mrs Marwa Sherbini died aged 32. We now know she was pregnant at the time. Her husband is also in hospital with two gunshot wounds. This all happened in front of their 3 year old child.

      http://www.thelocal.de/national/20090703-20359.html
      http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/07/433730.html

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      • mystrugglewithin

        I’ve no words to express my regret for this.. it’s painful and I really desire that we all pray for her, and her family, Inshallah. I just don’t know but I wish I could do something ..

        Jazakallah Khair for sharing the information,
        May Allah bless them. Ameen.

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      • nav

        when muslims stabbed copts at a church in alexandria 3 years ago, egyptian muslims didnt express outrage over that. yet when a woman in germany who happens to be egyptian is stabbed, thousands come out to condemn germany.

        hypocrisy much anyone?

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      • Gohar

        You would have a point if any of us were in agreement with what happened to those Copts, but thats not the case at all.
        Spend some time on this site; interact with us more. You’ll find that at least some of what you believe about us is not true. The invitation is there.

        For now, please let us mourn this woman’s death. It would be wrong of you to try and stop that.

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  37. Roshan

    Salam Alaykum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuhu,

    Okay, first: Today in the Muslim world whenever we have a very small issue we fight with eachother. We are all brothers and sisters…we fight as if we are enemies. Why do we need to argue whether is it obligatory or not? Why can’t we respect that some women really do choose to wear the niqaab? Even if some of the women are forced to wear niqaab, aren’t some of our women forced to wear hijaab? ( Yes I know it is a religious obligation) If it is not for the sake of Allah then there is no gain. It all comes down to the point when we think we are better than the other person. For example we have brothers who let the beard grow and think that those who don’t let the beard grow are hypocrites or not good Muslims. Usually we see a women also that is not even wearing her cover. Some people think that this women is not a good Muslima. We all need to remember that Islam is one religion but we can perform many types of sunnas. Take for example the prayer. There are obligatory acts in the prayer, and then there are sunnas that can be done in the prayer. There are even different ways to make tasleem. We have to accept that some women want to wear the niqaab. I personally have no problem with it. If she wears it Alhamdu lilah. If not then we have no right to say that she is doing something bad. For those that are on the extreme to say that it is obligatory need to prove it. For those that say it is not a sunna of the the wives of the prophet need to bring evidence. Remember when Rasool Allah (saws) drew that line on the ground. It was a straight line leading the way to truth. Then he drew lines on the sides pointing out that these were the ways to hellfire. Many of us are not staying the course and may Allah help us get back on the straight path. It is because of these small issues that we are not a united ummah. We all have our own opinions. I saw a man on T.V. a few days ago saying that hijab was not obligatory. It was outrageous. Please my brothers and sisters, we need to respect eachother’s choices as long as it is based on the moral teachings of Qur’an and Sunna. Until we can bring true unity amongst ourselves, we will not be able to come over secularism. May Allah help us all, guide us all, purfiy our hearts and intentions.

    If I have upset anyone, I apologize in advance but I can’t keep looking at my brothers and sisters while they are fighting. It hurts me to know that on these very small issues we are at each others throats. Please let’s stop the arguments here. All we have to say to the disbelievers is, to you is your deen and to me is my deen.

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  38. abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    SubhanAllah. May Allah accept this sister, tormented and murdered for wearing hijab in Germany, may He accept her as a martyr, and forgive her her sins, and enter her into the highest levels of Jannat. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/07/world/middleeast/07briefs-Egypt.html

    SubhanAllah — look at how little the “newspaper of record” cares for this story on a day that it celebrates a man who made music records. Was he a Muslim? WAllaho ‘Alim.

    Was she? I bear witness that I know nothing about her except that she died for her belief and her submission to Allah. May Allah cause the same to be said of me someday.

    SubhanAllah. May Allah strengthen and protect our wives, sisters, mothers, and daughters. May He keep them steadfast in faith and make their husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons guard them from evil.

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  39. H

    Perhaps my article will get read. One very mportant point is missing in this argument and this is the same mistake made on the war on terror.

    Why are these people doing this? Why are people bold enough to wear niqab in the west? Why are muslims wearing niqab in France, a country that practised assimilation of black Africans to becoming French (which backfired badly) and a country that has banned hijab in schools?

    The main point is everyne wants to be free to do what they think is right. If you think otherwise, you need to understand where they are coming from and what they want to achieve. This is France where foreigners live in slums, where peopel are clearly livin as second class citizens.

    The history of hijabis on campus was a reaction to post colonialism. For those who know their history from 60′s till now will understand the Islamic movements that started. If it has workd for muslim families that came and settld in the Western countires to be westernised, they will have done that. It is the system of injustice that has prevailed and pushed people back to fall on what they know that gave rise to the return.
    Mind that these are generations that feel confident. Watch this space. If this generation of muslim youth do not feel falrly treated in the west, this is not going to go away.

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  40. Maverick

    salams to all

    I just finished reading through God-knows-how-many comments are up there already so far.

    Before I give my thoughts, here’s a brief backgrounder relative to this topic so that everyone knows what kinds of biases I may or may not have:

    I come from a family of six kids; three boys three girls. All three sisters [two are married, with kids] of mine and my mother, wear hijab, and the girls have been doing it so from a very early age. They do not wear niqab except on extremely rare occasions and that is when they’re all *dolled up* and going to a segregated event, but perhaps they have to pass in front of men, then my mom and / or sisters may wear niqab by taking one of the ends of their scarves and covering their lips, cheeks and nose with it. I have no problems with the niqab myself. Some of my own maternal aunts wear the niqab.

    I’ve also lived around a lot, all over Canada – Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and all over the States – Michigan, California, Louisiana, Texas, etc. And I’ve traveled to Europe – including France – as well as to the Mideast and Asia (Pakistan). I’ve seen how Muslims are treated in these places. In one small town in Michigan where we lived, one of my sisters who was only about 11 at that time, had to endure verbal taunts about the hijab, as well as physical assault – girls tried to pull her hijab off. And of course I’ve lived in other places where non-Muslims are very comfortable around Muslims.

    Now then, here are some of my thoughts in no particular order:

    a.) I do not accept the slippery-slope theory put forward by some commentators here; namely that once “they” ban the niqab, then the hijab bans will follow. And the reason why that doesn’t make sense is what I’ve expanded upon in the following points.

    b.) I don’t accept the “security” concerns about niqab either, because statistically that also makes no sense. How often has the niqab, on a Muslim woman’s face, actually been used to facilitate a crime? Niqabi sisters are not criminals, God forbid. If they are asked, in private quarters, by female law enforcement officers to remove their niqab, they will. A criminal on the other hand, has completely different reasons for wearing a ski mask or a balaclava over his / her face. So if you – whether you’re a political leader or a common man – use such an argument, you really end up standing on very thin ice at your own peril. Don’t insult yourself by resorting to such arguments.

    c.) In Western culture, and elsewhere, a large part of communication is based on facial expressions. Its a huge percentage – facial and body language alone account for more than 50% of the intended meaning of what is said during spoken communications. The reason why there is such a strong, intense reaction about the niqab, as opposed to the hijab, is related to precisely just that – it is disorienting to communicate with someone face-to-face if you have difficulty seeing just that – their eyebrows, their eye contact, their cheeks, their mouth, etc. It creates a pronounced communications deficit, and introduces instability into the dynamics of the conversation – one person is voluntarily communicating their reply verbally as well involuntarily by voice and facial / body expression, but they are not receiving a reciprocal reply. The subconscious train of thought quickly evolves along low-level lines of hostility because the exchange is perceived as unfair. That in turn impacts the body language and tone of the other person; they may become uninterested, defensive, or even actively hostile.

    I’ve worked in the telecom and IT fields for the majority of my sales career. Of that time, I spent five years at Canada’s largest telecom company, starting out in their callcenters and ending up as an outside sales Account Executive. I saw with my own eyes how hiring managers had no problems with hiring niqabi sisters to work in the call-centers because face-to-face communications was a non-issue; the CSR was just a name and a voice at the other end of the line and the customer expected nothing more than that. But those sisters would never be able to advance to any client-facing role simply because of the niqab, and yet, hijab-wearing Muslim women had such roles frequently. One of my sales training managers was a hijabi lady in her late 30s and she was well-respected in that business division. The company is even known for using hijabies in their internal corporate marketing collateral.

    I feel the real drivers behind such Western outbursts against the niqab is because of just that – it creates uncertainty in a society so deeply grounded in using facial expressions as a major means of communication. The hijab on the other hand, doesn’t do that. And the hijab itself has its own well-established precedents in Western societies – i.e the nuns’ habits, headcoverings of particular people such as the Amish, etc. A rapid and humorous way of defusing any verbal hostility about the hijab itself is for the woman to say “well I kinda wanna be a nun and cover my hair, but I dont wanna be in a convent either, you know? I wanna live in a nice house, go to school, the store, all that jazz”.

    Snap. You have a near instantaneous connection between our beliefs and a section of their culture which they already know. A one- or two-liner that cuts down drastically on the time needed for cultural interface. However, I’m not aware of any similar such bridge for the niqab, even if you tried using the “surgeon’s mask” comment.

    d.) I understand that some people may want to presume [in good faith] that a Muslimah wearing the niqab is trying to increase her eeman, and that willingly going through hardships is somehow commendable. I disagree here, partially. I will presume also, in good faith, that a woman wearing the niqab is trying to do so to increase her eeman. But I live in Toronto. One of the four major Muslim population centers in North America. I have lost count how many times, while waiting for the subway at one of the TTC stations, that I have seen niqabi sisters coming down the stairs, or getting off the subway cars, talking loudly and swearing – four and five letter words coming out of their mouths like water over the Niagara Falls. Some might say – so what, women who wear hijab or those who don’t wear hijab at all also cuss and swear, or have otherwise plenty of room for improvement. That’s exactly my point – the niqab itself doesn’t increase her eeman if she hasn’t fixed her heart first, the most important part of the body. And secondly, Allah ta3ala wants ease for us, and the mufassireen have stated that if you come to a fork in the road and have to make a choice but both lead to the same destination, then choose that which is easier, because its closer to Allah.

    So yes, we all know and understand that there is ikhtilaaf on this issue and both sides have strong bases. My point is, if hayaa and modesty are served by wearing loose clothing and a headscarf, then why would one make it harder on herself by wearing niqab? I’ve made my case for why putting oneself willingly through such difficulty has no substantial ROI. Even in Muslim countries, the niqab does not decisively prevent fitnah – ever been on a bus in Jordan, or Yemen, or Egypt? You’ll see niqabi and hijabi women getting quickie-groped by male perverts all the time.

    But I’m obviously missing something.

    What kind of return does a Muslimah perceive by wearing the niqab, particularly for one living in the West?

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  41. UmmeSuleim

    Some people are under the expression that Westerner writers are close minded and unwilling to understand the truth therefore we (Muslims) have the right to be as rude and harsh in our responses to them as possible? Allah gives clear guidelines of speaking with them gently, with reason. Saying ‘Flap on my face, slap on your face’ is not exactly heart softening.

    Allah says, “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.” (Qur’an 16:125)

    Allah says, “And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Qur’an 29:46)

    Couldn’t we say to Mr. Sarkozy that the covering is in obedience to Allah’s command, its a manifestation of righteous. Were the insults necessary? We could have even quoted passages from the Bible which instruct of a similar covering. Finding common ground between the two opposing sides is always helpful in resolving the conflict.

    Let’s taken back by their words. They are a people who do not know the Quran. Allah says, “And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allāh. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know.” (Quran, 9:6). This is in reference to battle, even if in state of fighting, they come to seeking asylum, give them refuge so that they listen to the Quran. If they still choose to disbelieve and disagree then exhort them to a place of safety where at least they will not engage in combat with you.
    We should promote and publicize the teachings of Quran so so so much that inshaAllah people have no objection left to Islamic practices. But we should do this in a gentle and reasonable manners. Rude and harsh words will not win any hearts.

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  42. René

    Why is it that the word masochism never turns up in discussions about the burqa?

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  43. gopi thomas

    Here you guys go again!

    If that is the law of France, follow that. If one has to wear burqua and whatever, and if France does not allow that, then, go to ones own country or whichever country will allow niquab and burqua.

    Muslims will have to resolve and reconcile the conflicts inherent in Umma vs nation-state

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  44. Anonymous

    I have great respect and admiration for those that wear the hijab and especially the niqab. May Allah Kareem forever bless them.

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  45. Fatima

    “The tough part is dealing constantly with the skepticism, silent antagonism and outright hostility that other Muslims – yes, Muslims – show us time and again when they see us performing our daily lives in public with this garment on”

    This is so right subhanaAllah! It’s family members, freinds, and close relatives that constantly discourage and talk negatively to sisters who wear the Niqab. May Allah forgive us, and guide us…Allahuma Amin.

    “And don’t pity us, please. Pity the botoxed, image-obssessed teenaged girl with the eating disorder, roaming around barely clothed on the beach, wondering if the sun is highlighting her cellulite, or if her body is in anyway less than perfect for the world to judge.”

    MashaAllah! is all I can say, may Allah bless this dear sister for speaking the truth.

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  46. Aycha

    I was muslim and I think that burkas and other covering devices should not worni you may think you are doing for the love of god but be sure that if there is a god he wont care. Why would he he’s supposedly the master of the universe so why would give damn about your hair showing. You don’t have to dress like a whore but at least let people see your face.

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  47. Elle

    Just wanted to say…ditto that, sister!

    Wanted to let you know that I’m an American-born Catholic, but I’m with ya! And sometimes I feel like I want a burqa! Hopefully, as things get discussed more and more, everyone will have a little more insight into things like this.

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  48. shiney

    masha’Allah! this is truly a well-written article! I’m not a niqabi but i completely support their choice to wear it. If the Mothers of the Believers wore it, i don’t think it can bring abt any harm, even in today’s world.
    Btw, reading through the comments gave me an insight on how many ppl are uninformed or ignorant regarding the issue of niqab. May Allah guide them and all of us. Ameen

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  49. وہ ایک پردہ جسے تو گراں سمجھتی ہے! « سوز دل

    [...] اس بے پردگی کی وجہ سے عورت کا کتنا حشر نشر  ہو رہا ہے اسکا اندازہ آپکو anorexia, bulimia, boob job, وغیرہ جیسی چیزوں سے ہوتا ہے- اس وقت عورت ایک sex object بنی ہوئ ہے اور اسکومردوں کی اس تلکیف دہ غلامی سے پردے کی چھاؤں ہی بچا سکتی ہے-  [A Flap On My Face] [...]

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