Saturday, October 17, 2015

Headscarf war in Cyberspace

Muslims have embraced hijab/veiling as a cultural practice rather than simply an Islamic practice.—Scarves and veils of different colors and shapes were customary in countless cultures long before Islam came into being in the seventh century in the Arabian Peninsula.—To this day, head coverings play a significant role in many religions, including Orthodox Judaism and Catholicism.—The first reference to veiling dates to an Assyrian text in 13 B.C. In the text, the practice of veiling was described as reserved for elite.—It was not until the reign of the Safavids in the Ottoman Empire, an area that extends through the Middle East and North Africa, in the 16th century that the veil emerged as a symbol of social status among Muslims.—What constitutes modest clothing has changed over time.—Like most customs, what women wear has reflected the practices of a region and the social position of the wearer.—The veil itself predates Islam by many centuries. In the Near East, Assyrian kings first introduced both the seclusion of women in the royal harem and the veil.—Beyond the Near East, the practice of hiding one's face and largely living in seclusion appeared in classical Greece, in the Byzantine Christian world, in Persia, and in India among upper caste Rajput women.—Muslims in their first century at first were relaxed about female dress. When the niece of Aishah Bint Abu Bakr (the Prophet’s wife), Aisha bint Talha was asked by her husband Musab to veil her face, she answered, "Since the Almighty hath put on me the stamp of beauty, it is my wish that the public should view the beauty and thereby recognize His grace unto them. On no account, therefore, will I veil myself."—As Islam reached other lands, regional practices, including the covering of women, were adopted by the early Muslims.—Yet it was only in the second Islamic century that the veil became common, first used among the powerful and rich as a status symbol.—The Qu'ranic revelation to "draw their veils over their bosoms"—in response to pagan women wearing veils, yet leaving their bosoms naked, became interpreted by some as an injunction to veil one's hair, neck and ears.—The Quran speaks of dressing and modesty in general.—The holy book of Islam does not explicitly state that women must cover their hair or their faces, or that they must remain secluded from public life.—Early Islamic history in fact provides examples of how women participated in public life, including fighting wars.—During the battle of Uhud, Um Darda, a female companion of the Prophet Mohammad, sustained wounds while defending him single-handedly.—One must ask: Could she have achieved this while draped in cumbersome garb as burqa/niqab/abaya—invention of Clerics, pressed by inexpiable zeal/misogyny?—If wearing the veil was a faith-oriented right, every Muslim woman should be striving for it. But most Muslim women in Islamic countries and in the West don't practice this tradition, which was traditionally imposed by Muslim men.—The Quran doesn't require Muslim women to cover their faces.—Women in Prophet Muhammad's times were allowed to work with open faces.—Muslims' most sacred pilgrimage known as Hajj in Saudi Arabia doesn't require women to cover their faces. Rather, women are not allowed to cover their faces during the Hajj Pilgrimage.—Most people think of the veil solely in terms of Islam, but it is much older.—It originated from ancient Indo-European cultures, such as the Hittites, Greeks, Romans and Persians.—It was also practiced by the Assyrians.—Veiling had class as well as gender implications; thus, the ancient Assyrian law required it of upper class women while punishing commoners for it.—The strong association of veiling with class rank, as well as an urban/peasant split, persisted historically up until the last century.—Then more privileged women began rejecting the veil, as did Egyptian feminist Huda Sharawi, while poor women increasingly adopted it as a ticket to upward mobility.— Hijab/niqab/burqa/abaya are cultural symbols of man-made fabric (fabrication) oppression of women.—Hijab now is mostly/vaingloriously adopted by teens (even if they escape lure of extremists) as deep-rooted conflict between faith and identity crisis?—

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