Alhamdullilah that we have been guided to the true way of life – Al Islam. A perfect way of life that comes from the Most Perfect, the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists – Allah ?. Alhamdullilah that we have been shown the truth as the truth and falsehood as the falsehood.
And so the question arises; is it enough to say we believe and then wash our hands of further responsibility? Or does with this belief come the duty of protecting, implementing and propagating it?
Allah SWT says:
"You are indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] mankind: you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and you believe in God" (3:110)
The Believer is Tested
Islam is the way of life that we have been ordained to believe in and implement upon the Earth with all that it came with. It is with this command that we are tested. It is with tests that Allah ? elevates in degrees one believer over another. The believer should look to tests as an opportunity to draw closer to the Creator of all that exists.
Do you think that you could enter paradise without having suffered like those [believers] who passed away before you? Misfortune and hardship befell them, and so shaken were they that the apostle, and the believers with him, would exclaim, “When will God’s victory come?” Oh, verily, God’s victory is [always] near! (2:214)
Alhamdullilah, many of us know of sisters (or may be one ourselves) who wear the niqab. The niqab, like the hijab is worn purely out of devotion to Allah ?. Whether we view the niqab as an obligatory, recommended or permissible action according to different Islamic scholarly opinion, we must respect these opinions on this subject and not fall into an unnecessary debate amongst ourselves.
It is the hope of those who wish to rip the veil from the faces of our sisters to disunite us on this issue. It is their hope that we split up into two camps. The ‘moderates’ who do not hold it as wajib, versus the extremists who do hold it as wajib. This is the age old tactic of divide and conquer! Let us not fall into this trap! We must look upon every opinion that is based upon an understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah as an Islamic opinion. Thus we must look at a proposal to ban the niqab as a proposal to ban a part of the Qur’an and Sunnah – a ban on Islam!
Let us respond to this test by standing for everything that is a part Islam, adhering to it with steadfastness and supporting one another in piety.
An Age Old Test
William Gladstone, four times elected British Prime Minister was recorded as saying before parliament as early as 1894: “The situation in the East will not be successful until we remove the Hijab from the woman and use it to cover the Qur’an.” The ‘East’ meaning the Islamic Uthmani Khilafah State.
This is not an issue about niqab or hijab - This is an issue about Islam. This is an issue about undermining Islam and dominating over it, in order to prevent it from emerging as an alternate way of life to Western secular democracy. This is a struggle between those who value a creed where religion has no part to play in the running of the affairs of society, and those who value the creed of Islam that dictates that the Creator has given us a comprehensive guide to live by as individuals and societies. This is a struggle between the 1% of secular capitalists who fear losing their monopoly of position and power by the rise of Islam which shall ensure that Allah’s ? justice reigns supreme for all – Muslim and non-Muslim alike!
Western policy makers see the role of the Muslim woman in this struggle as a vital one. They know very well the worth of her essential role in raising the future generation of upstanding, strong Muslim men and women. If they can exert influence over her Islamic role, position and dress code, then they know they would have succeeded in exerting this influence over the future generations as well!
Exactly What Are They Saying?
No doubt you are all aware of the public debate that is taking place both here and across Europe in particular concerning the niqab, and the debate on whether a ban should be introduced or not on September 23rd 2010.
After banning all conspicuous religious symbols within public institutions – to target the hijab in particular – France was amongst the first nations to then move to ban the niqab in the general public life. Similar moves have echoed across Europe, and certainly it was not very long before they reached the shores of Australia.
Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi was the first to publicly comment, and now Christian Democrat Fred Nile has taken it on as his own personal crusade, giving it precedence above every other issue. On June 22nd 2010 he put forward a private members bill to have this issue debated within the NSW parliament in September.
“We must do all we can to protect women, especially Muslim women, from discrimination and oppression so they live an open lifestyle… The wearing of the burqa is a form of oppression which has no place in the 21st century”. He also further added that it presented “a security risk.”
Muslim Choose Allah’s Deen, Not Man’s!
Is it the niqab that oppresses women? Let’s get real! Is it Islam that, in the name of profit, uses women’s bodies as objects for advertising, entertainment and pornography under freedom of expression? Is it Islam that evaluates the worth of women according to the extent of their attractiveness to men?
By contrast, Islam gave women honour and dignity 1400 years ago and prohibited the exploitation of women by men as sexual objects in society. Women are not valued according to their physical bodies but valued as equal human beings in society. Allah ? prescribed the manner of dress and code of conduct between men and women in society so that each cannot oppress the other and deal with each other as human beings and not sexual commodities; preserving the Islamic values of modesty and chastity. In this way men and women become equal members in society.
Is it the Niqab or Discrimination that Isolates?
The niqab debate has further fuelled an already very strong anti-Islamic sentiment within the community. Since when do politicians ever talk about aspects of clothing or personal dress? Since when has the media ever addressed women’s clothing outside of its fashion pages?
Yet somehow many politicians and media outlets have decided that Muslim women’s dress tops the political agenda, even overriding the economic and environmental crises of our time! Why has a garment worn by a small number of sincere women received so much national attention and legislative time and energy? – other than perhaps to gain cheap political points amongst the far right sectors of their communities!
The calls to ban the burqa or niqab prove that the West has completely lost the intellectual argument for their way of life. They have failed to convince Muslim women to leave the hijab or niqab in favour of the dress code of Western women. The fact they feel they can only resort to bans to stop them from wearing the niqab is truly a victory for the values of Islam over their values.
The Way Forward
Dear Sisters! Know that your strength lies with Islam and Islam alone. It is our deen that dictates what is in our interests and what is not. It is not for us to define what is beneficial and what is not when it contravenes the Deen of Allah ?. You will not find either trueness nor permanent security by depending upon principles of freedom, human rights and democracy to defend Islam. We understand that these values, laws and principles are man-made, so are constantly subject to change. Therefore, we cannot allow this debate to revolve around them, nor can we use them as the basis of our thinking and responses about this, or any other issue. As Muslims, we are obliged to use Islam and only Islam as our yardstick to address all matters. We adhere to our Islamic principles and values, regardless of what percieved benefits are offered for us to abandon them.
As Muslim women, we will never disobey our Creator in any part of our Deen, whether it is the hijab, niqab or any other matter, in order to please a creation.
Dear sisters in Islam, we need to remain united in the face of this attack; to raise our voices on this issue exposing the falsity of women’s liberation in the West and show how Islam raised the status of women in society. These issues show that Muslims in Australia need to stand for their Islam, engage in this battle of ideas and convey the true face and values of Islam to the ordinary people, who are fed lies on a daily basis about Islam by the politicians and media.
Allah SWT says:
And who is better in speech than one calls men to Allah and says “I am one of those who are Muslims”? (41:33)