Religion and faith

The Hijab unveiled – a response to Nazeeya Faarooq

The Writer of Hijab whereforth dost thou commeth? Nazeeya Faarooq, in her article has seemingly probed into a billboard and attempted to develop an intellectual response to an innocent picture. It is good in one-way to develop pondering minds but not so good when it becomes a cynosure, thus steering people away  from much more pressing and important things in life.

I have nothing to disagree with her about the dress of the Ceylonese Muslim women of the past. As I don’t find any contradiction in the dress of the Muslim women of the past in comparison vis a vis the  concept of Hijab in Islam nor do I find any contradiction with the modern version of the so called “Hijab” as an attire.

But what I find amusing to see in the writings of Nazeeya and few others is their lack of understanding of Islam from its sources and their very often confused and confounded notions about the Hijab. Very often the Hijab is confused as attire; In Islam the attire is part of the concept of Hijab and not otherwise.

And this concept of Hijab is applicable to both Men and Women.

Hijab is a condition of mind sprouting from one’s Iman (belief) that envelopes, screens and shrouds oneself in respect to all the social intercourse in dealing with the opposite sex whether be male or female.

To the men the Qur’an says: Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. (24:30)

To the women the Quran says ‘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 (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss’ (24:31)

To men the parameters of the dress code is defined as covering from navel to knee. This is only a parameter and it is up to him to wear whatever he pleases.

Similarly to women the parameters are to cover their body (only when they go out) exposing their hands up to the wrist and their face. This is only a parameter and how they cover – whether like the traditional Ceylonese women or the modern and trendy Sri Lankan is immaterial provided the Islamic parameters are met.

Within the defined parameter one may wear anything that suits the time and clime irrespective of geographical, political or other boundaries. It is imperative to understand that tradition and culture in the modern world are transitory things and are in a state of flux and therefore Islam defines only the parameter so that it can stand the test of time and clime.

There is nothing called “our own cultural form of dress”, human development together with the development of technology and materials has contributed a lot in changing the style of living and the way one dresses, and therefore holding to “our own cultural form of dress’ is irrelevant. The writer can see the writings of R.L.Brohier -Discovering Ceylon and Robert Knox’s- An Historical Relation of Ceylon if required and get an insight into “our cultural form of dress”.

Nazeeya goes on to assert about the ignorance of the young girls about an alternative to Hijab (attire), I should note that a knowledgeable Muslim has no issues about what to wear and how to wear if they are knowledgeable of the parameters. No individual in a democratic or Muslim society has the power to coerce one another in respect to what to wear and what not to wear. Therefore if Nazeeya is not wearing Islamic attire it is her choice but she is not franchised to make sweeping generalizations leading to a typical “pot calling the kettle black” scenario.

Her assertion that “They think that they are better Muslims than non Hijab wearing Muslim women”, is applicable to the writer herself by the stance exposed in her writing where she seems to suggest that she is a better Muslim. In a modern world where form follows function, her function defines what form she takes and it is up to her decide who she is.

Her claim that the Hijab is a state of mind is true but what is in the mind comes out as behaviour in action. Therefore if it’s one’s belief that the concept of Hijab is something as God Almighty commanded upon the Muslims, it should come out in the open in action and behaviour as opposed to saying something bordering on the likes of -I believe but won’t let it out. For instance a spouse can say to the other ‘I love you! But if this is not translated into action and behaviour, in reality you will see your spouse leaving you and find someone who translates love to action and behaviour.

She goes on to stress that the “Hijab serves to accentuate difference and alienation”; I strongly disagree with this rather dubious function that she assigns to the Hijab. Having experience life both in Sri Lanka and outside Sri Lanka, I can state with conviction of how wonderful Sri Lankans as a people are. The average Sinhalese or Tamils have not been discriminatory of Muslims.  Being a practicing Muslim, neither I nor my parents or siblings have suffered discrimination at the hands of the average Sinhalese or Tamils. It’s a cliché to express that every community have their black sheep and the Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim communities are no exception, but it is better expressed than not. Therefore I wish not to tarnish the image of my Sinhala and Tamil brethren by suggesting them to be ethnocentric or discriminatory of Muslims.

If the writer fears that Muslim women wearing the Hijab can lead to segregation and ethnic discord, is she suggesting that all women shed the colourful diversity that they contribute to Sri Lankan female society  – and in doing so maintain such monotonous uniformity in appearance in true traditional style that no person would help to “accentuate difference and alienation”? I’d rather think not.

The best Muslim is he /she who practices Islam to the best of his ability and knowledge only to satisfy one’s creator.

“On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns”. (2:286)

So every Muslim should Endeavour to live as true Muslims to the best of one’s ability and the rest is in the hand of God Almighty. Therefore it is better to restrain one of commenting on the others than setting lofty examples in practical life as true Muslims so that it will be a beacon for all.

I wish the erudite writer to read more on the sources of Islamic knowledge as half learning is dangerous.

  • Reza

    Indeed, a much needed response! And, I really appreciate the writer’s inclination to forbearance, diversity and brotherhood… It is all possible as long as one has the heart and mind to live and let live.

  • Florine

    I understand what Nazeeya Farouk is trying to say and I think that the response to her article by Aufidius is an attempt to show that he/she has a better knowledge of the religion & its strictures rather than addressing the issues brought out by Nazeeya.
    I too, like Nazeeya, am often mistaken for a non-muslim and on one of those occasions I was privy to the following comment: “Do these Muslim women think that our men are so hard up as to go after them?” I dont know how Aufidius would view this comment but I was angry – I was angry that we left ourselves open to this sort of attack.
    Now I know Aufidius would say something like – Muslims have to be prepared for this kind of flack, they shouldn’t care what others say they should stand up for what they believe,the early Muslims suffered much more etc……
    It is a joke to think that we muslims don’t face antagonism & hostility from non-muslims in this country & part of that is contributed by the clothes we wear. Historically Sri Lankan Muslims came up as a cultural hybrid and we borrowed from the Sinhalese and Tamil cultures & came up with our own Sri Lankan identity. When we discard this and adopt an alien culture, it is like saying we no longer identify ourselves as a Sri Lankan. The most visible indication is through the clothes we wear and when we adopt an obviously alien dress code we will definitely alienate ourselves. Why cant we dress modestly in a Sri Lankan style – like Aufudius states it doesn’t matter how the parameters are covered as long as they are. The muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia have adapted their traditional dress to embrace the leanings towards more religious awareness. In fact I believe that if the Sri Lankan muslim women had adopted the Malay style of dress rather than the Arab – it would have had less antipathy – after all Malay culture is an integral part of our SrI Lankan community.
    Now the question of “why should we do something to please others comes up” – If Aufidius is as religiously enlightened as he/she potrays to be I think he/she will be fully aware of how much our beloved Prophet (sal) sacrificed to maintain harmony among the people of Medina – In fact, creating harmony within a community is implied very strongly in the Quran & Hadith and we as Muslims are ordered to refrain from giving opportunities for the denigration of Allah, Islam & Muslims. (I’m sure Aufidius will know the verse I’m referring to!)
    Aufidius rather condescending attitude when he/she says that he/she finds Nazeeya’s lack of understanding amusing is I must point out for non-Muslim readers is a very un-Islamic attitude. We as muslims are advised to be humble at all levels – not only when we prostrate to our creator. This is exactly what Nazeeya I think was trying to say – Hijab is a state of mind- modesty /humility has to first come from within – our practice of our religion should matter to the creator and not the created.

  • FLORINE: I have capitalised your name not because I scream at you but because I want to get your attention. I have written a comment to Nazeeya’s article and may be you should read that.

    I don’t think that any Muslim should have got angry or even give second thought to the comment made about Muslim women and men being hard up. Society is made up of all sorts of crude people who will say all sorts of crude things as and when those thoughts pop out of their miscontrued brains. We all know that Muslim women dont wear it in fear of some non Muslim man molesting them. Surely then why are they wearing it in predominantly Muslim countries? So let’s not suffer too much pain over such comments.

    Yes, it is true that we are suffering injustices, not just in Sri Lanka but all over the world. It did not start when some of our Muslim women started wearing the hijab nor will it end if our women gave it up. Tamil women have not changed their attire one bit and yet, has it got them anywhere? Discrimination and harassment of minorities has a lot to do with the threat they pose politically and the insecurity of the majority rather than a issue about attire.

    On the topic of identities and pluralism. When the Nazi party came to power in Germany and started discriminating Jews, many Jews filed cases in German courts, not to challenge the actions of the Nazis but to get declarations that they were not Jews. They were forsaking their identity. Did it get them anywhere?

    ‘When in Rome do as Romans do’ applies only to the Roman ages. Post World War II we are in the age of human rights where indiduality and individual preferences and freedoms trump collective or community choices. So now you have the right to wear whatever you want and that includes the right to wear nothing as I learnt to my regret walking down Oxford Street one day. So to advocate conformity is to advocate an archaic view of individual conduct. The new thinking is to respect individual choices and to tolerate them.

    So that does not mean that we should not please others. We should and that has been the example of the Holy Prophet [PBUH], but as you would recall, to please others, he never gave up his identity, his religion or his message. In fact even when his Uncle Abu Thalib, pleaded with him to give up his message and to join the band wagon on the promise of great riches, his answer was that even if they put the Sun on my right hand and the Moon on the left, he would not give up his religion or his preaching.

    What we need to do is engage other communities and show that togetherness is not just on a headscarf but is more based on what we are: humans who want the same thing in life. To do our thing, earn our living, bring up our children, practice our religion and live in peace with each other. If we give this message across, never would not care too much about what we wear, eat or drink.

    I want to higlight the fact that the hijab is not an ‘Arab’ thing. It is a global phenomenon as I have described it elswhere. Persians and Turks who both have ‘issues’ with Arabs, wear the hijab.

    Finally, as all those who have written have stated. It is not what the created think that matters but whether it pleases the Creator. That thought should comfort us all. with or without hijab.

  • Nicolai

    FLORINE. I want your attention as well. Excellent response.

  • ethnichybrid

    Florine, I liked your response and I think the same way. Somehow after reading both articles I think Aufidius has missed the point. The point is not actually wearing the hijab or not wearing the hijab. The point is that Muslims should accept that those who do not wear the hijab are as much Muslim as those who do wear the hijab. I believe that Sri Lankan Muslims wear the hijab due to an identity crisis and not because of any religious fervour. Now, Aufidius, don’t get your hackles up! This is simply my opinion. Among other religions present in Sri Lanka, people dress in different ways and generally, I emphasise generally they are not judged on being religious or not depending on the way they dress. But among Muslims, I have noticed that it is so. Women who don’t wear the hijab are described as being ‘naked’ and those who wear the hijab are described as being decent! Another annoying thing, which omar brings up, is that the argument for wearing the hijab is that if you don’t wear the hijab you go about naked! Isnt that extreme? Omar, look around you, you are in Sri Lanka, the majority of the women don’t wear hijab and they are certainly not naked. But they are certainly modest.

  • fathima

    thanks nice to read this colum if you go more send me…
    fathia

  • “Another annoying thing, which omar brings up, is that the argument for wearing the hijab is that if you don’t wear the hijab you go about naked! Isnt that extreme?”

    Huh?….where have I said?

    What I did say is…

    “So now you have the right to wear whatever you want and that includes the right to wear nothing as I learnt to my regret walking down Oxford Street one day.”

    Got it?

    About Oxford Street….well I am referring to the Naked Parade or something like that…where thousands of men women and children ride bicycles stark naked through London. I happened to be walking on Oxford Street on a Saturday in Spring on the day of the parade and got more than an eye full.

    So just as much as you have the right to wear what you want…you have the right to wear nothing and parade around in a bicycle through a busy shopping district!

    As a Muslim… I can vouch for the fact that women who do not wear the hijab are not relegated, disregarded and disowned. Pakistan went crazy over Benazir.. and she wore no hijab! Mahathir’s wife and daughter don’t wear hijab… I mean look around you and you will see that Muslim women with and without hijab are accepted by their communities.

    Farzana Jameel who is the most successful female Muslim lawyer in Sri Lanka… heads important Muslim community groups… is invited to events as chief guest… where all others are in hijab… and she does not wear hijab.

    If you can access the information… go around and check the key women in the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee…very influential and active Muslim community groups… there you have hijab clad sisters working shoulder to shoulder with their non hijab sisters.

    Cheers…

  • Akbar

    Covering yourself up was practical in the desert. For both men and women. So was circumcision for men. And many other things.

    But Islam isn’t confined to the desert anymore. It’s global. So unless there’s some serious rethinking of how to separate the true philosophy and core beliefs from the other junk that’s in there then it’s going to come to a point where Islam isn’t relevant anymore.

    We really need a reformation of Islam. It’s about half a millennium overdue. That’s the only way the real faith can continue to thrive in today’s world.

  • Florine

    Lets not quibble about terminology – I think everyone interested in this discussion knows what hijab signifies – what I referred to was the dress code which contributes to the idea of hijab.
    I am a Sri Lankan and frankly I care first about my standing as a Sri Lankan muslim than what other muslims face in other countries – after all I am not living in another country so selfishly I care about how I as a muslim am viewed in the country I live in!
    I lived during my formative years in Singapore & returned to Sri Lanka when I got married. So basically I was educated in Singapore & worked for a number of years there as well. The Muslim population there was a dismal 4-5% (of which 99% was Malay). I had both Malay & Chinese friends but moved predominantly with the Chinese. I wasn’t their idea of a stereotypical muslim but they respected my religion and the way I practised it. When we went out for a meal my chinese friends would check whether it was halal(I never had to tell them), I used to get time off during Ramazan in an office where I was one of only 2 muslims (I never asked for it) & even had a friend who cleaned out her pots with sand b/f she cooked for me (again I didn’t tell her) etc. This has to be appreciated more when you realize that there was no love lost between the Malays & Chinese & most of the Chinese at that time were atheist.
    It was a rude shock when I came back here and faced the antipathy faced by Muslims and the total disrespect for their religion. How did 4% of a population command the respect that a very visible (the Malays were not as visible) 8% in Sri Lanka could not? I realized it had to do with national identity – the Malays in Singapore showed in every way that they were Singaporean in as much as the Singapore Chinese and this fostered a common bond and mutual respect. So much so that when a muslim community wanted to build a mosque in a district in Singapore the non-muslims around contributed towards it!
    Again I want to reiterate that it is not about covering oneself but doing so in a manner that does not alienate oneself. In this age of ethnic strife in our country we have to attend to even the minutest details that could contribute to correcting our issues – we need to foster mutual respect & even one remark has to be taken seriously as it probably reflects the view of many and arrogance could very well be our downfall.
    And once again I would like to bring to focus the fact that it is a joke to think that Muslims in this country are viewed with respect – and like many philosophers would suggest it is time we looked at ourselves really hard!
    PS: This is not an issue I want to get into but I agree with one of the comments – the issue of abaya is related to an identity crisis within the muslim world at large – this becomes patently clear when one realizes the superficial way the religion is being practised by the people who advocate the hijab so vehemently! I dont want to judge – this is only to realize that we really have bigger issues than dress code & the sooner we face up to them the better!

  • For starters I am not sure whether there are only 4% Muslims in Singapore. I think there is about 14% there. The Malays alone are 6% of the population. Be that as it may, the question is how come Muslims in Singapore have more respect that the Muslims in Sri Lanka. The answer is a question: which minority is treated with respect in Sri Lanka?

    But I dont want to discount the acheivements of the Muslims. We have had Muslim law practiced in Sri Lanka for over thousand years and Muslim law was statutorily embodied long before Singapore. Talk to Muslims who grew up in Sri Lanka and they will tell you similar tales of non Muslim friends treating them with respect. I can tell you scores of them. Government Schools give special holidays for Ramadan and whatever denomination, government and private schools allow the children to go for Friday prayers. What more do you want for respect and regard as a community?

    We must never forget that we are a minority within a minority. We live most in the Eastern Province and there we have to live and work with the Tamils but also must not jeopardise our relationship with the Sinhalese. That is why when Ponnabalam tried to categorise the Muslims as being a sub species of Tamils… as they were Tamil speaking, Dr Azeez fought [successfully], to show that …no we are different.

    In the early days of the LTTE, there were Muslims cadres. Muslim youth who were joining the group to vent their frustrations. It was inter alia as a reaction to this that the SLMC was formed which told the Muslim youth…no we are different…and weaned the community out of the clutches of the Tigers. We have paid a price for having kept our identity. The Jaffna Muslims were evicted and the North ethnically cleansed of Muslims, there were massacres in Eravur and Kattankudy and several atrocities committed but that is a small price compared to what would have happened.

    In yesteryear, in our sari days, you played a match with Pakistan and we had large sections of our community supporting Pakistan. But in these hijab days, does that happen?

    Champika Ranawake and Medhananda Thero, who are today influencing the political thinking of the Sinhala majority, have no place for us Muslims. That is in hijab or in sari. But they too will wane away and when we have more moderate leaders who see minoritities and particularly Muslims as having a role to play in Sri Lanka, they will be open to us, that too irrespective of whether we are in hijab or in sari.

    Be that as it may, let me point out that the very fact that a hijab clad girl was depicted on a billboard on national unity demonstrates that we have not alienated ourselves. Just as much as a pottu clad Tamil woman is not alien to our perception of what is Sri Lankan, the hijab clad girl shows that she has successfully engaged her Tamil and Sinhalese sisters and brothers and now they accept her and see her, in her hijab as one of them.

    The hijab is not restricted to the Tribal areas of Pakistan or only in remote corners of the world. It is worn globally and in the best of places. Doctors, lawyers, journalists, social workers and athletes, wear it. So to say that it is some Arab desert practice that needs rethinking is not understanding the phenomenon.

  • ethnichybrid

    Florine, I like the way you think. I agree with you entirely. The pity is that the muslims of Sri Lanka have never really thought of themselves as being from here. And the rest of the population senses it. In an election for example, the Muslims do not vote for the most competent worthy candidate, instead they vote for a Muslim. Even India seems to be having a problem with this en bloc mentality that the Muslims have to vote only for Muslims. Before we get obsessed about Palestine and Israel, why don’t we help the refugees that are pouring out of the no fire zone. I once asked a Muslim mason if he supports Pakistan or Sri Lanka when they are playing a match. His answer was very revealing. He told me: We are muslims so we HAVE to support Pakistan.
    Now tell me isn’t there a problem?

  • Ethnichybrid: it might help to do some research before you come to conclusions. When I mean research it’s not talking to one mason.

    The Muslims Council of Sri Lanka is helping the IDP’s. They are sending a large consignment of essential items requested by the army for the IDPs. The Muslims Council is also giving out scholarships to children of soldiers. These are just two things that come to mind.

    Muslims never thought of themselves as being from here you say. Really? How come they never wanted a separate state? How come Muslims join the Armed Forces, the Police, serve with distinction and die for this country? How come? Strange isn’t it?

    To which community did Faisz Mustapha belong? A High Commissioner who is considered one of the best to ever to serve in the London office. From which community did MM Zuhair come from? The current Ambassador to Iran, who has successfully negotiated financial aid, foriegn investment and military aid. And mind you, with no strings attached. Read the newspapers and count how many times how many Minister fly to Iran to get aid and help?

    How come despite all that has happened, the Muslims remain strongly committed to the democratic process and to dialogue in resolving their issues. They have never resorted to violence? Not like the Tamil LTTE not like the SInhala JVP? Is it because they feel like ‘outsiders’. C’mon really?

    Have you even quoted one teeny weeny line from Muslim leaders like Ashroff, Rauff Hakeem or Ferial Ashroff to substantiate your claim that ‘Muslims dont think they belong here?’

    Do you have one comment from people like Rizvi Mufthi the President of the All Ceylon Jamaithul Ulama? Have you even heard of him? have you even heard or watched Niyas Moulavi before start commenting about the Muslims and their attitudes.

    All you have is an alleged statement of an alleged Muslim mason. I doubt its correctness. In any case how fair is it to judge a community with a statement of one man, if you are correct that is.

    As you said, it is revealing. Revealing of a tendency to jump to conclusions and to make sweeping generalisations.

    ‘most competent worthy candidate’? Is there any such candidate in an election? Excuse me but the whole point having an election is because we can never agree on who the most competent worthy candidate is. If we could we just select him/her. why have an election? Geez! Its precisely because there is no such ‘most competent worthy candidate’ as described in your comment that we have to suffer through campaigns and elections. All those who vote Ranil think he is the guy and those who voted for Mahinda think he is the guy.

    So there is never a ‘most competent worthy candidate’ to whom the Muslims could vote for or as you say, chose not to vote for. The very basis of your argument is screwed and demonsrates a total lack of understanding of the democratic process.

    It shows that you have a difficulty respecting the Muslims choice. They are equal citizens of this country you know. Dont grudge them that they never voted for your candidate.

    In any event do the Muslims vote only for Muslims? Muslims live spread out throughout the country. They form sizable majorities only in a few polling areas and that too mainly in the East. In the rest of the country they live in small pockets. That’s why Soma Thero and the JHU types say, every where you go…there is a mosque somewhere.

    So it would be insane for them to vote for a Muslim candidate because he or she would never get elected. That is why the SLMC or other Muslim political parties do not field candidates in all districts.

    So to whom do these Muslims vote for? Got the answer? If not talk to people like Dallas Alahapperuma who gets elected from the Matara District with strong backing from villages like Dickwella where a large number of Muslims live. Lets look at Hambantota. Hambantota town has a good Muslim community. No million dollars for guessing who their MP in Parliament is.

    Also the most pluralistic place in Sri Lanka is Colombo. I think it was at the last general election, both the UNP and the UPFA had Muslims, AHM Fowzie and MH Mohamed as district leaders. Thats because both of them had strong backing from all three communities. Mohamed who comes from Borella electorate has a every strong voter base from Wanathamulla which is predominantly non Muslim.

    A key UNP leader for Kegalle is Kabir Hashim. You think he is such a political force because he is supported by and is representing a small pocket of Muslims there?

    Some of things written in these comments, especially that of Muslims never really feeling like they belong here is not just hurtful but is a load of crap. We will never build a better Sri Lanka if we have agendas that seek to divide and alienate people. The Muslims have never alienated themselves Nazeeya Farooq and some who have written comments are trying their best to alienate them or to sow the seeds of divisiveness.

    Next time you write something, support it with objective facts rather than some isolated conversation with a mason somewhere.

    BTW it might not be a bad idea if we all supported Pakistan for a change, for all the support they have given to bringing this conflict to a decisive end.

  • ethnichybrid

    H omer, There is a lot of anger in your response to me and please believe me when I say that I never intended disrespect when I placed that post but I did want to open a dialogue and thought that the comment the mason made to me was interesting if not telling to say the least. Also I am not lying, there was indeed a mason who told this to me, he was from Kalpitiya. A key component in dialogue is that you can disagree with something someone said, but can put your message across in such a way that there is more discussion generated and it doesnt become a rant. Also this forum should be for ordinary people to express their opinion. If I feel a certain way on a particular subject, even if I am not an expert on it, but merely an ordinary citizen I should have the freedom to put it across and for it to be debated.
    That said:Thank you for letting all of us know about what the Muslim Council is doing regarding the IDP’s that is very laudable and timely and it perhaps would filter down to little groups of people from all ethnicities doing their little bit for the IDPS.
    I am not sure what you meant about the worthy and not worthy candidates who stand up for election. I was merely making a point that instead of voting for someone just because they and you are Muslim you should vote for someone competent.
    The list of notable Muslims who have contributed to the betterment of the country and society, is informative, but doesnt disprove what I said about Muslims ‘feeling’ like they belong somewhere else. Instead of being defensive, perhaps we should probe that maybe the Muslims feel like this because of how they feel the majority community treats or responds to them. Because in the end I still stand by my statement that there are many Muslims who think they have come from a Middle Eastern country than that they are true blue Sri Lankans. I await comment from others.

  • Florine

    I don’t want to mention names and put people in a compromising position but I participated in a series of sessions organized by some very eminent muslims (incl. people in the political arena) whose focus was to create a voice for the muslims of Sri Lanka – as a separate entity – i.e. a third player in the civil war being fought albeit without resorting to violence. Note: A third player – not as a minority within a majority but a separate entity! They were not interested in strengthening the muslim representation within the government! I hope the implications of that is clearly understood! Naturally I was aghast that this was even being considered!
    One thing we muslims have to face is that we never thought of this war against the LTTE as if it was our war as well. A BBC correspondent once remarked to me – “you muslims are making hay while the two sides are fighting aren’t you? ” We made so much hay that we even left our own to rot in Puttalam. That was not our problem – it was caused by others!
    If we don’t face up to our shortcomings now that the scenario in our country is changing we will only have ourselves to blame for the consequences. I am writing this not to downgrade my own but hoping that this will initiate a change in our attitude – I would dearly love to see the mutual respect within an ethnic diversity and a strong nationalistic feeling in all Sri Lankans.
    The calibre of the eminent muslims of yore who made such contributions to Sri Lanka in the spirit of nationalism have not been emulated for decades since(and I have considered all of the names that have been brandished) – it is time for a resurgence!

  • I love to wear my hijab proudly.

  • President Bean

    So long as women are not forced to wear the Hijab, there is nothing wrong. The problem is that most muslim women are forced by their parents/elders etc to wear it.

  • Hijab is the part of muslim women cloths.

  • our muslim sisters love their Hijab.

  • The hijab covers up the female form.But if the females are not to be seen in public, then the purpose is served.
    In the batticaloa district,there are two thickly populted muslim villages – one, Kattankudy two miles south of batticaloa town,and another Chenkalady,five miles north of batticaloa. These must have been, and probably still are, the most densely populated villages in sri lanka.In both,all houses were & still are, enclosed by cadjan fences, with a single ‘gate’ for going in and out.Women and female children above 12, are/were never seen in public.In the sixties, Chenkalady was quoted as having the WORLD’S highest Fertility Rate.The obstetrician at batticaloa hospital said that the muslim women from both villages,menstruate only once, at puberty.They then bear children continuously and most of then die early,mainly due to anaemia, malnutrition or tuberculosis. The menfolk rarely,if ever,sought advice from doctors,for the ailing women as most doctors were males.The was a Woman Medical Officer attached to Kattankudy Rural Hospital, but even her advice was rarely sought. Even now this state of affairs prevails. Recently,there was rivalry,resulting even in even murder,between two religious groups of muslims.in Kattankudy.

  • momina

    Hijab is not part of the muslim woman’s dress code.

    There is not mention of hijab ( in relation to how women should dress ) the Quran even once.

    There is no mention of head coverage in The Quran.

    Hijab has been invented in the last few decades mainly an arab culturel custom.

    This custom was not adopted by many muslim Non-arab countries. Iran only had it introduced after the fall of the Shah and the entry of Khomeini.

    The path to modesty (mentioned in the Quran) are many.

    But people can wear what ever they like at the end of the day but let us not invent things.

  • Well done!
    May Allah bless you for your constructive rebuttals of that horrendously ignorant take on the non-issue.