Friday, May 9, 2014


ISLAMIC HIJAB - ARE MUSLIM WOMEN OPPRESSED? The feeling still persists in society that Muslim women wear Hijab or the outer covering because they are slaves to tradition, so much so that it is seen as a symbol of oppression. Western society says that women's liberation and independence is impossible unless they first remove the Hijab. This view is not correct. Why do Muslim women wear the outer covering that sometimes covers their face and hides the rest of their body?
Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran, Chapter 33, Verse 59: "O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons; that is better, that they should be known (as such) and not be molested.
" And in Chapter 24, Verse 31: "And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what appear thereof; that they should draw their scarves over their bosoms - "
Muslim women all over the world are wearing Hijab as a religious requirement and a sign of respect, not out of a misdirected sense of "tradition." It is both a sign of a women's obedience to Allah and a manifestation of her faith. The Hijab is part of a Muslim's religious identity. It gives women dignity and self-respect.
Islam commands women to cover their bodies so as not to trouble men who are weak and unable to resist temptation. In Islam, men and women are commanded to dress modestly and not appear "naked" in public, even in all male and female situations.
Just as a short skirt or a see-through dress can send the signal that the wearer is available to men, so the Hijab signals, loud and clear: "I am forbidden to you." Wearing the Hijab protects the female from harassment and men. It is the western women who are to be pitied for displaying their private self for all to see.
An American, Ruth Anderson, has said: "Hijab is not a sign of backwardness, ignorance or mental incompetence, but a woman's duty and her right." A women in Hijab is like a jewel that is of high exceptional value and that which must be kept hidden. Wearing the Hijab is a choice that Muslim women make. To discard the Hijab or expose that part of her body ordered covered by the Divine Law is to disobey Islamic principles and a women's basic Islamic belief.
Growing popularity of Islamic dress code in Indonesia has started a new trend. Women from the middle-income group have explicitly shown escalating preference to Islamic clothes resulting in a multi-million fashion industry as admitted by Aami Waamsu, Editor of the fashion magazine "Femina."
According to Taufiq Abdullah Nigar of Indonesian Science Institute, this shocking trend has developed in the short span of the last 2 - 3 years. This has been in the wake of the recognition that Indonesian men are more respectful towards women in Islamic attire. Previously, modern Indonesian women wore tops, pants and ordinary scarves. Nowadays, preference is given to dignified loose clothing with scarves completely covering the head.
The fever has caught on to such an extent that even non-Muslim designers have resorted to designing Islamic clothes. Muslim women are active in social, religious and political fields dressed according to Islamic dressing code.
A really interesting angle of this "fashion revival" is that so impressed are the non-Muslim women by this trend that they too have begun to imitate it!