Muslim Women Hijab
A careful background study shows that religion is practiced so that people can attempt to answer the life questions that they do not have answers to. Some people are concerned, some confused, and others scared of what awaits them in the afterlife. It thus becomes an unfathomable idea that we simply cease to exist. The idea of religion, therefore, comes into play because we yearn to learn about the afterlife and how we can get into the better part of it, such as heaven. The Islamic religion is one that is guided by strict rules and doctrines, and it considers the purity of the body a very crucial matter in keeping pace with the desires of the Supreme God. As such, there are several doctrines that have been imposed on believers, most of which have raised considerable debate and contrast among them. While it is largely believed that these tenacities are put in place to uphold the true worship of Allah, some critics view them as backward, and only those that are meant to infringe on the rights and privileges of a given sex. Particularly, as society dictates, these practices are discriminately biased towards womenfolk, who, more often than not, have to be the subjects of suffering. Aside from the view of skeptics, the wearing of the hijab, as well as maintenance of various doctrinal practices by the Muslim community are all done in good faith. It is against this backdrop that this paper proceeds to answer the questions on whether the hijab bounds women. More importantly, the subsequent analysis champions the thesis that the wearing of hijab is not treated by Muslim women as a forceful act, but as one that shields them from malicious desires of men, and helps them foster their purity.
Majority of the populace practice religion because they were born into it, they do not question it mainly because they are taught that it is the only right thing to believe, and mostly, for children, that they will not get to heaven. Common elements to faiths all over the world that characterize religion include beliefs and believers, sacred texts and writing, ethics, rituals, and ceremonies. Beliefs define the major doctrines which support the practice of a particular religion, while believers come to terms with the world view of a particular religion and adjust their lives in terms of those ideas and values.
Does the Hijab Prevent Muslim Women Freedom?
A good number of women wear the hijab as a show of obedience and reverence to God, and to be known as respectable; while some see it as indicative of their desire to be part of the Islamic revival, more so in countries where the practice of Islam is either discouraged or forbidden, while others seek to ban it as they deem it an expression of gender repression. It eventually ends up as a matter of independent choice making and personal decisions. Though perceived as such, it is a rule that has been pegged down for all Muslim women, who must obey and always adorn themselves in the hijab. In fact, it is required that at all times, in the presence of men, women keep virtually all parts of their body covered with the hijab, except the eyes. It is only during bed hours, or while in-house with fellow women that they are allowed to relieve themselves. The supporting claims for the wearing of the hijab are bountiful, in the same manner reasons for rebuttal are.
As a positive gesture, the hijab frees women from being thought of as sexual objects of desire, and being valued from their body shapes and looks as opposed to their minds and intellect. This is able to liberate the women from the unrealistic pigeonhole of conforming to fashion statements dictated by the media. The aureole of privacy it creates is indicative of the great esteem Islam places on women. While skeptics may view this as a discriminatory practice, it can be argued that the wearing of the hijab is a practice that only affirms the great respect and esteem that the Muslim community has placed on their women. In the Quran, 2:256, it is stated that there is no compulsion in religion. In some families and cultures though, women are forced to wear the hijab. This violates their rights because it is not an easy decision to choose whether to wear it or not. This can be able to result in great animosity from either families, leading to heavy cases where women have to defend their rights to wear it or not.
Pietism is exhibited by the hijab. This can as well portray a sign of great inner strength and natural virtue. A woman adorning it becomes a very seeable sign of Islam. The implication is that Muslim men can easily blend into society whereas, for a woman, she is put on the line. In a destination where the locals do not have regard for the garment, a woman can be under constant torture due to discrimination, thus a major violation to their rights. This is a reason that undermines the wearing of the hijab, and actually puts it into great question. It is true that not all people in the society ascribe to the significance the Muslim community place on the hijab, thus, when such women are in the company of such people, they are likely to be prejudiced. This, in turn, translates to a gross violation of their rights, hence, bedeviling the practice of wearing the hijab.
For school going children, the garment has had quite a negative impact on them. In France, recently (2004), the then president banned it in all public schools. His logic? That it was a behavior that was expressing religious affiliations in the school. This divided the schools along major ethnic lines that deterred a holistic and integrated development of children. To unbowed parents, it implied that their children could only be taught in institutions that accepted their children as they were or in those that were developed by other Islamic followers. This deals a great blow to children. Further, it prevents them from freely interacting with their peers from all walks of life, and only confines them to the mates of similar religion. While young people are better bred in environments with broad diversity, these children face the challenge of social solitude, since they are viewed by children of other religions as belonging to a special group, one which is unreachable.
The democratic society also faces challenges when dealing with women who are tied to the veil. Court cases that involve Islamic women usually have crazy turn of events, especially when giving witness accounts. Most courts do not accept witness testimonies of women dressed in hijab. This is because information given out can be compromised, since it is not easy to identify the person under the clothing. If anything, it could just be a man disguising himself. It therefore leads to misrepresentation whereby the reputation of the court is put at risk, hence overshadowing the respect for custom. At a point when human rule is in conflict with religion, it becomes challenging to integrate the two, and the subject in question becomes the one to bear the full burden. As such, when the testimonies of Muslim women are required in the court of law, given that the court does not subscribe to Sharia laws, it becomes quite frustrating for them. This translates to infringing of their rights.
Muslim migrants have been able to introduce the religion to formerly Christian countries around the world. Such a move incites the need to create an identity in society. This results in political and cultural manifestations, especially where it is perceived as an attempt to introduce their ideologies. In the recent past, there is a conception that terrorist attacks are conducted by Muslims. The end result is a general characterization of all Muslims, and the people most prone to this are the women who put on hijabs.
Social categorization is essential to social recognition. Identity is always produced through and against the views of others, and so a minority’s identity construction is always a response to how they have been stereotyped by the majority. Perceived prejudice increases the level of identification by disadvantaged group members, leading to increased hostility towards the out-group. Women of the veil, thus, are perceived as a minority group, making them disadvantaged.
The wearing of the veil has a variety of meanings to those Muslim women that choose or feel obligated to wear them and to those who interact with them in the course of their daily lives. The issue, however, has become a global touchstone for the nature and future of the secular state. While the signatories to international conventions on human rights are near universal and every country insists on its own model of the freedom of religion, the willingness of judges and legislators to limit those rights has become more evident, probably due to the incessant acts of terrorism that are mostly carried out by perceived followers of Islam.
From the few matters at hand, it is more than evident that the hijab brings out women as the antagonists, making them succumb to serious violations of their rights, with barely any other place to turn to save for their traditional customs. With a small piece of cloth managing to cause quite a stir, leave alone making headlines around the world, where could we be heading to? Would it suffice for the women to simply remove it? Or would it be wise for the non- Muslim community to accept and move on?
There could be innumerable reasons as to why Muslim women put on scarves (veils), but the easiest, single sentence answer is, because God made it an obligation for believing women. Naturally, we cannot all be contented. The first step in flowing towards a united global front is accepting multiculturalism. If everyone were to be born and raised in their own countries, the world would be a very boring place. We would not even be aware of growing trends, and the hatred would be so much. As such, we need to accept the fact that we are different, and it is this difference that creates heterogeneity that leads to prosperity in our lives.
Direct and indirect discrimination that exists between men and women is the one vice we should strive to conquer. Equality does not prohibit some people to wear some clothes and others not to, it does not choose who to employ because of the scarf on one’s head, and it does not choose who to serve first in a hotel. All beings are equal, so our main aim should be to treat each other with respect, regardless of race, origin, or religious affiliation.
Carrying out the obligations of the Islamic faith provides the framework of a Muslim’s life, and weaves their everyday activities and their beliefs into a single cloth of religious belief. No matter how sincerely a person may believe, it is pointless to live a life without putting faith into action and practice. It is on this basis that women wear the hijab, helping them not to corrode faith with their secular lives.
From the analysis [resented above, it emerges that the wearing of the veil is a custom that has met considerable debate since its wake. While skeptics view it as a gross infringement of the rights of Muslim women, the religious perspective that supports the practice is very clear in its intent: to maintain the purity of women, and preserve them from the perverse desires of the flesh that ultimately breed sinful acts.