Purdah and Veiling

Notes and Comment: Headscarves – Oppression or Freedom of Choice?

4 The Review of Religions – September 2003 representations. The Swastika is an excellent example of this. Originally it is an ancient Greek/Roman/ Indian symbol which represents luck, life, love, but its use by the Nazi regime in Germany has meant that few have any positive associations with it. In most of the major faiths, covering of the head by ladies (and men) is normal practice. Many Christians cover their heads at least when in Church. Take the habit worn by Catholic nuns. It is a veritable icon of modesty, and is not interpreted as repressive, for those who become nuns choose, to wear this attire, as the Muslim women choose to wear the scarf. Islam also urges both men and women to dress modestly. Modesty is not a commandment directed solely at women. Surely men who submit themselves to God and women who submit themselves to Him, …….. …… and men who guard their chastity and women who guard their chastity, and men who remember Allah much and women who remember Him – Allah has prepared for all of them forgiveness and a great reward. (Ch.33:V.36) We know from the history of Russia, that religious belief cannot be suppressed. Even during the Communist era, religious communities were still active in spite of tremendous persecution. Marx was not completely wrong when he said that religion was the opiate of the masses. However it is not an opiate in the sense of being a mindless addiction that prevents one from reflecting on injustice in the world. Religious belief and man’s natural inclination towards his Maker have always been present since the beginning of time. It is an attraction that is so powerful that it overrides other affiliations and rather like the addict, the believer who finds His Lord is unable to abandon Him. And politicians have nothing to fear from those believers who preserve the integrity of their religion at source. All religions at source enjoin men and women to good. Islam in particular, directs believers to fulfil their responsibilities and obligations to society as a whole. The Muslim is a citizen and a believer. Those in government posts and in any positions of authority should be wary of other politicians who seek to corrupt religious belief in order to divide communities and create fear and evil. Sarah Waseem – UK Notes and Comments

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