Tuesday, November 28, 2006

To dress or to undress?

Sister Ruth Nasrullah, who is fast becoming a Houston icons for converts to Islam, is now hosting her own blog via Houston Chronicle. Sister Ruth is a journalist by education, and her writings convey that art well. Her blog has an interesting entry regarding the picture of a Muslim woman that appeared in the Chronicle. By all accounts, the picture was not very accurate in its portrayal of Islamic dress (what a surprise). So, Sister Ruth discusses that, and some interesting comments come her way.

Here's her blog : http://blogs.chron.com/thestraightpath/. Look for insert "I'm Disappointed".

One comment that probably got under Sister Ruth's skin, and under mine and probably most Muslims was this comment by a Dennis:
"Ruth - it's an interesting concept that you are promoting here, this idea of freedom through oppression. I thought our society had advanced well beyond that point, even if it is based on a religious philosophy. To steal a line from Richard Dawkins, we tolerate a lot of really bad ideas becase we are told that they have some sort of religious basis. I don't think most Americans will buy into what you are suggesting."

Here's my response:
To Dennis:
Your statement, I quote, "this idea of freedom through oppression" is actually quite amusing. It's as contradictory as Bush's goal of promoting 'liberty' i.e. if people choose to behave in a certain way that you don't like, then it must be oppression, and if they choose to behave in a way that you like, then it has to be liberty! Why is it that you and your ilk feel that they are somehow so enlightened to pick and choose what represents liberty or oppression for others?
For you, liberty may mean women appearing in playboy or penthouse magazines or appearing barely-clad or not clad at all in advertisements that have nothing to do with women. For you, liberty may mean women selling themselves, and be sold by others, for the enjoyment of men. For you, liberty may mean women wearing mini-skirts at work for the visual pleasure of men dressed in 3-piece suits. For you, liberty may be little girls dressing in enticing and 'sexy' clothes, while they haven't yet grasped simple concepts of life. For you, liberty may mean women spending their entire lives trying to please men, whether on the street, on the bill-boards, on TV, in magazines or whatever else purpose they are being exploited for.
For us Muslims, Dennis, liberty means quite something else. For us Muslims, liberty means a women's subservience not to the society or its male sector, but to the God who created her. For us Muslims, liberty means a woman's role not as an object of pleasure for nations, but rather as a mother of nations. And finally, for us Muslims, liberty means dressing to dress, and not to entice; dressing to cover, and not to uncover illicit relations.
As the verse in Quran states, what means, "To you, your religion, to us ours". So, to you, your perverted sense of liberty, to us, our true liberty; Liberty from the worship of man, and liberty in the worship of man's creator.


Ruth Nasrullah said...

Asalaamu alaikum, Br. Amad! Thanks so much for letting people know about my blog. I'm glad you posted your response to Dennis' comments. I have to apologize for not posting them on my blog...I had to take down and/or censor the last several comments because it was getting out of hand - rants and tirades on each side of the issue (not that you were among them). I want healthy discussion, but I'm trying carefully to keep my non-Muslim readers' minds open and receptive. Some of them are quick to turn nasty, as you see!

That thread proved very unfortunate, but it was a learning experience for me, too. Two things I have to bear in mind are that there are many readers who instinctively bristle at anything that sounds conservative, and I need to be gentle with them, as much as I'd like to be otherwise! We Muslims also have to remember that we're explaining ourselves from the inside out - we have to put ourselves in the mind of the average American. The Muslims on that thread did exactly what they should have, which was speak up firmly and intelligently for the right and concept of hijab, but the non-Muslim readers felt kind of overwhelmed. Lessons learned. I walk a fine line, especially because the blog lives on the Chronicle's web site, so it's virtually a media outlet - but one that isn't edited by the Chronicle.

During the course of moderating that difficult thread, I did have a couple brothers suggest good sources of education about dawah, so that was a positive result. I clearly need more knowledge. Insha Allah I'll learn more as the blog progresses.

I'm going to bookmark your blog and let others know about it. Thanks again for the plug (and for calling me an icon - really?!) and jazak Allah khair.


ruthmiriam@earthlink.net said...

Asalaamu alaikum. One other thing I forgot to mention to you and your readers - from time to time you might want to check out the "Keep the Faith" blog on the Chronicle's readers blog page. It's about liberal religion and is moderated by a very nice Unitarian minister who, while he has beliefs that are quite opposite from Islam, is pretty open-minded. It wouldn't be a bad thing for some Muslim readers to comment there once in a while (again, very gently, these non-Muslims are sensitive, LOL!). It's at blogs.chron.com/keepthefaith. Jazak Allah khair.

Amad said...

salam sister, jazakillah khair for your response. I was sure you had a good reason to remove my comment, just wanted to hear it directly from you. I will check out the other blog. One suggestion for a good entry in your blog is the Reuters story I just posted.

Anonymous said...

Amad rocks!!!!!!!!!!!