Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ok, the Niqab is Out...

By a Margin of 56.7% in favor, and 43.3% against, the participants at the Doha Debates have booted the Niqab out. Those in favor were 'Lord' Ahmed of Rotherham and Reem Maghribi, founder of Al Sharq, the English language British-Arab culture and lifestyle magazine.

What a relief! Phew... Now, all the niqabis can take their niqab off, because the mandate has been delivered.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Give me a BIG break folks! Doha debates idiots: do you really believe that the niqab or any other Islamic ensemble or Islamic issue is up for debates between people who don't have any real Islamic knowledge? Do you really think that Muslim women just wear the niqab, because they like it so much just to undergo the daily looks and stares? Do you really think if it was only cultural, we wouldn't be smart to figure that out?? Remember too, Doha-debate geniuses: The difference of opinion among the people of Sunnah is limited to two: (1) It is obligatory or (2) it is optional but mustahab (recommended). The third opinion that it is only cultural is the pro-regressive, Western brown-nosing, "we are different from everyone else" opinion, which has absolutely no backing in Islamic jurisprudence.

While I am a bit disappointed that "Lord" Ahmed wants the niqab out, it is almost hilarous that Ms. Maghribi is on the same side. I mean what do you expect from this pro-regressive woman, who does not even wear the hijab! Check her 'young and energetic' team... does it even look like that she cares about Muslim issues, let alone have any right to discuss the niqab?? I mean are you going to let George Bush or Dick Cheney vote too? In fact, give Condi a special place on the table, I wonder which way she will vote, hmm.... What right does Maghribi or for that matter ANYONE have to vote what is right for Muslim women or not? Since it is an insult to real Muslims to have someone like Maghribi be part of a discussion that involves practicing Muslims as opposed to her obvious position, I don't think it is particularly beneficial to even bother about her. She should focus on her magazine and continue 'modernizing' Arabs so that they can fully leave Islam and adopt the Western mold that she has adopted.

On the other hand, Lord Ahmed's inclusion on the wrong side was a bit surprising, he wants it out because it is a barrier to integrating Muslims, a religious symbol of separation, hmm... And the point is?? Muslims don't want to assimilate Mr. Ahmed. We want to maintain our Muslim identities, but who told you that it meant that we cannot contribute to the society we live in. In a multi-cultural, diverse, dynamic society, many groups and many races, each with their lifestyles can contribute without losing their identities.

“I don’t want it (Niqab) to be banned by law but I am calling for a sensible debate on the issue,” Ahmed said, referring to the ban imposed by France and some other European countries on wearing face veil in offices, schools etc. He noted that 57 per cent of the British public feel that Muslims are not integrated to the British society and 67 per cent of them supported Jack Straw who triggered a debate on the issue by calling Muslim women to keep away from wearing the face veil.

Ok, so Mr. Ahmed, WHY stop at the niqab? If 67% of the British society starts supporting the call to remove the hijab (the head scarf), should we consider that open-game as well? Where would you draw the line? Why is that Muslim women have been wearing the scarves and the niqabs forever and only now has it become an issue??

Mr. Ahmed, your nose is already too bloody with the brown-nosing... just stop it bro, it is getting embarrassing.

On the flip side of these nonsensical debates comes a beautiful article by Sr. Sahar Ullah, a student at the prestigious University of Chicago, on her reflections about the niqab during her undergrad years. Check it out for yourself and give her major props.

30 comments:

ABD said...

as-salaam alaykum,

thanks for highlighting sahar ullah's riveting guest post on our blog. just a correction: her reflections on niqab refer to her undergrad years. she mentions by the end of the piece that she no longer wears it.

as i understand it, her piece is more about giving each other the space to make spiritual choices than about whether or not muslim women should wear niqab.

illuminatingfaith said...

As salaamu alaikum

jazakAllah khair for the post. it was very good mashaALlah along with sister Saharullah's article.

it annoys me that so many muslims these days are less supportive of their brothers and sisters' islamic decisions than non-muslims are! Allahu akbar. it really shows their underlying lack of self esteem and their obsession with wanting to think that they are in no need of change.

regarding niqab, why don't people ever read what the scholars have deduced? that niqab is either obligatory or highly recommended. end of story. why trying to find loopholes here and there while not even praying 5 times a day? like that will do justice to islam?

the worst think i heard from someone was that niqab was makruh! astaghfirAllah.

may Allah guide us all, ameen. may He replace our ignorance with true knowledge and the ability to put it into action, ameen.

illuminatingfaith said...

p.s. just to add one more thing: to those who think "niqab is bad da'wah for these times" they should think again. there have been true stories of people accepting islam after seeing a sister in niqab. Allahu akbar.

Baraka said...

Salaam,

Regarding your statement:

The difference of opinion among the people of Sunnah is limited to two: (1) It is obligatory or (2) it is optional but mustahab (recommended).

I believe there is a third way, which is that it is impermissible. Maliki women do not wear the niqab and are prevented from doing so by Imam Malik's interpetations.

I believe Imam Malik is still considered part of the people of Sunnah?

Danish said...

check out the new uhmsa website lately??

Amad said...

salam... thanks abd for the correction, which I have also made in the main post. I would like to add that I am unprejudiced to either opinion on the Niqab (actually leaning to it being mustahab, not wajib, wallahualam), so the sister's niqab removal doesn't change the value of her reflections.

I also agree about Muslims giving other Muslims space on valid opinions, even if they are doing "less", let alone doing "more" as was the case for Sahar. Of course, in terms of clearly invalid opinions, we still need to use hikmah and kindness.

Baraka, to be honest, I was not aware of this Maliki opinion. If it is indeed the case, then I stand corrected, but I will look into it myself as well. I am interested in how they reconcile with the explicit information that the Prophet's wives did wear it. Thanks for the info, another benefit of the blog world!

Arshad said...

ASAK terrific post
U hit it where it hurts
pls give the niqab a break....
first worry about aids,paedophiling, teenage pregnancies.........

ExEx Blogger said...

you know, one of the signs of the day of judgment is that people will speak without knowledge and by their opinions (whims/desires) Allahul Mustaan

Abdu said...

salaam,
why doesn't your recent comments update?

ABD said...

jazakAllah khayr for the correction.

Baraka said...

Salaam,

Please do let me know if you find out anything more about it! :)

I heard Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, who follows the Maliki tradition, say that that is the case as his wife does not wear niqab.

Also, some scholars like Tariq Ramadan believe that the niqab was strictly for the wives of the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, and the hijab for all the other women.

Anyway, it just seems that sometimes there is a greater diversity of opinion amongst the scholars than we are aware of.

And, God knows best.

Thank you,
Baraka

Amad said...

wasalam
abdu: blogger bug-- comments not updating on "recent comments"

abd: waiyakum

Baraka:this is what I found so far, containing a myriad of opinions from scholars across the spectrum, it makes mention of the Maliki opinion, and it is far from Makruh:

****Mufti Anwar Ali Adam Al Mazahiri (Mufti A'azam (Head Mufti) of Madrasa Madinatil Uloom Trinidad & Tobago.)
"Imam Shafi, Malik and Hanbal hold the view that niqaab (covering the face and the hands completely with only a small area for the eyes to see) as eing compulsory (fard). Imam Abu Hanifa says that niqaab is Wajib and the face and hands can be exposed provided that there is not fear of desire if one looks at the female face, otherwise if there is the slightest chance of desire developing in the looker (the meaning of desire is that the looker would see the female face and think that she is beautiful, sexual thaught is not what is meant) then exposing the face and hands is Haraam.
(This is from the fatwaa issued by Mufti Anwar Ali Adam Al Mazahiri on 13/9/99. He derived the opnions of the 4 Imaams from these sources Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Tafseer Ma'rifatul Qur'aan, Durre Muhtaar, Fatawa Shami, Al Mabsoot, Fathul Qadeer. And the opinion of Imaam Abu hanifah is a directly derived from his statements in the Famous book of hanafi Fiqh Fatwaa Shami)****

If you have access to different information, by all means, post it. I found some more info. here, where it mentions that Imam Qurtubi, a Maliki scholar considered it is not wajib to cover, nothing about it being makruh. As for Hamza Yusuf, well, it is likely he agrees with what seems a more widespread opinion among Malikis that it is not waajib. However, to say that this will make it makrooh is a stretch. Did he actually say it so or are you assuming it? I doubt very much that he would say it, and if he did, I would seek verification again.

jazakumAllahkhair

Abu Sara said...

"you know, one of the signs of the day of judgment is that people will speak without knowledge and by their opinions (whims/desires) Allahul Mustaan"

I can't think of a better way to describe the state of muslim students and youth today than this (especially here in the U.S.), thank you for that insight.

Allahknowsbest.

umm reem said...

It will seem very strange that Imam Malik will say such a thing, and Allah knows best, because from all four imams Imam Malik was the only one who would actually take 'Medina customs' into consideration to drive his fiqh rulings...and as far as I know niqaab has always been a Medina custom (if not a Muslim custom :))!

Amad said...

salam... here is more from the Maliki opinions from a student of knowledge:

"I highly doubt that Hamza Yousuf would say something like this.

Anyway, here are opinions of some Maliky scholars on covering the face for a woman:
*Al-Zarqani in his sharh on the Muwatta’ 4/347: it is obligatory to cover.
*Ibn Al-Arabi: Entire body is 'awrah, including her voice! (Tafseer 3/1579).
*Ibn Khowaiz Mindad: Has to cover if beautiful (Tafseer Al-Qurtubi 12/229).
*Al-Shaikh Al-Hattaab: Has to cover if beautiful (Mawaahib Al-Jaleel 1/499).
*Imam Malik RA narrated the hadeeth of A’ishah RA and her companions covering their faces during Ihram (Muwatta’ 726)."

This sheikh who sent me this information also reminded everyone to be careful of what they ascribe to the scholars, because ultimately they are the inheritors of the Prophet's knowledge, and saying that their opinion is so and so is similar to saying that it is the Sunnah (according to them): The Prophet PBUH said: "it is enough a lie to narrate everything you hear".

What do you think Baraka? Perhaps you misunderstood this matter from someone.

wasalam

Anonymous said...

baraka ... where did shaikh hamza say this?

illuminatingfaith said...

As salaamu alaikum,

sister Baraka, I also found this:

"Niqaab in the light of Qur'an and hadith"
http://members.tripod.com/~ibnfarooq/niqaab.htm

"Mufti Anwar Ali Adam Al Mazahiri (Mufti A'azam (Head Mufti) of Madrasa Madinatil Uloom Trinidad & Tobago.)
"Imam Shafi, Malik and Hanbal hold the view that niqaab (covering the face and the hands completely with only a small area for the eyes to see) as
being compulsory (fard). Imam Abu Hanifa says that niqaab is Wajib and the face and hands can be exposed provided that there is not fear of desire if one looks at the female face, otherwise if there is the slightest chance of desire developing in the looker (the meaning of desire is that the looker would see the female face and think that she is beautiful, sexual thaught is not what is meant) then exposing the face and hands is Haraam.
(This is from the fatwaa issued by Mufti Anwar Ali Adam Al Mazahiri on 13/9/99. He derived the opnions of the 4 Imaams from these sources Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Tafseer Ma'rifatul Qur'aan, Durre Muhtaar, Fatawa Shami, Al Mabsoot, Fathul Qadeer. And the opinion of Imaam Abu hanifah is a directly derived from his statements in the Famous book of hanafi Fiqh Fatwaa Shami) "


wa Allahu ta'ala alam.

Ruth Nasrullah said...

Asalaamu alaikum. Hmm...I've thought a lot about this post.

When I talk to new Muslims one of the things I tell them is "If you hear something about Islam that strikes you as odd, question it further." Br. Amad, your statement "The difference of opinion among the people of Sunnah is limited to two: (1) It is obligatory or (2) it is optional but mustahab (recommended)." is something I've never heard before.

Is it "pro-regressive" for a woman to leave her face uncovered in public? Certainly I'm no scholar, and certainly I'm nothing more than a convert with probably minimal Islamic knowledge, but it strikes me as odd that something compulsory is done by so few Muslims, and that I've never encountered a sheikh or religious teacher who said niqab is required or strongly recommended.

What does Sh. Yasir say about this?

Amad said...

Salam Sr. Ruth,
As far as I am aware, the majority of scholars do not say that it is obligatory. And to be honest it is a small matter in terms of the 'big picture'. So, if we can get all our sisters just to wear hijab, let alone niqab, I think we will all (incl. those who say it is obligation) would be happy beyond measure! After all, the majority of Muslim woman don't even wear that.

As for Yasir, he is neither there nor here. His wife doesn't cover... and I wouldn't mind if mine didn't either; it is really the woman's choice as it is between her and her Lord. Yasir would probably be in the recommended camp, but doesn't push it at all (and I am with him on that). Because there is really such an ikhtilaaf in this matter that it is not worth pressing it (in my humble 2 cents).

If you go through the comments, you'll find links to almost every opinion in the world, and you will indeed see that what I mentioned was not without a strong basis. Possibly I should have added a third opinion of it being 'mubah' (permissable), but I have not heard a scholar say that, so I cannot make that stretch.

Being Mustahab means recommended, and if you do anything extra for the sake of Allah, even if it turns out not to be required, will earn you reward. There are so many mustahabs available that if this is something a sister is not comfortable with, then by all means move to the others.

My main point of the post was not to talk about its obligation or pushing our sisters to wear it, rather it was to point out the farce of debating a matter by people who have no real Islamic knowledge. Islamic matters have to be discussed in a scholarly fashion, not to be determined by democratic voting. That is a dangerous area, and though this was only a 'non-binding' exercise, but usually there is a hidden agenda to 'test the waters', as they say.

Hope that clarifies.

Anonymous said...

Don't they have debates at your American univeristy? You are paying for an American education in the United States of America, thought you would have been taught about freedom of speech and expression of opinion.

Amad said...

anon: They have the right to debates, and we have the right to condemn farcical debates.

Also, I think if the Plumbers Association decided to debate the merits of a nuance of a heart surgery procedure, then I would suspect many heart patients wouldn't be too happy about it. Similarly, when the ignoramus start debating matters of Islamic scholarship, Muslims have the right to be not too thrilled either.

DrMaxtor said...

Great post Amad. I do not see niqab as wajib but who are these presumptive whitewashed prima donas anyway? The Doha Debacles have always been a waste of time. What hubris on the part of these sell outs to declare such nonsense on our sisters. "Lord" Ahmed ought to hit the treadmill lest those Bliar kebabs do any further damage to his black heart.
What a spineless munafiq.

Amad said...

Dr. M, good to see ur comments on this blog... I am a fan of your pro-regressive hit-jobs... I think we need to do even more to expose those who now pretend that 'progressivism is dead' yet are themselves only slightly less progressive. In fact, these new breed is more dangerous since like Qadiyanis, they pretend they are 'just like you' and then bite you when you least expect it. Wallahu musta'an.

Hassan said...

Sister Ruth, I have opposite experience to what was your experience (I am not woman, I am just talking about opinions of scholars). I have never met or read a single sheikh who did not consider niqab less than fardh. Infact due to my lack of knowledge I did not know there was any other opinion, till I met shiekh in USA, who again considered niqab fardh, but told me there is another opinion that niqab is mustahab.

Check islam-qa.com and islamtoday.com as well to see what I am saying.

By the way, I have rarely seen any woman without niqab in Saudi Arabia. But you are right, in totality of Ummah, very few women do it. But numbers do not change opinions of scholars.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

I've personally always referred to the Quran on this matter.

If the Quran commands the believing men to "lower their gaze" when looking at a woman, how can niqab help facilitate that when you MUST look a niqabi in the EYE to communicate with her???? It attracts attention to her eyes! That can't possibly be good.

BTW...
I wear niqab selectively, mainly to hide my identity when in public forums (I'm scared of King George's "Brave New World"), and I also wore it while in the Middle East while shopping in the souks...it helped a lot to blend in and I got better prices since the sellers thought I must be married to one of the locals!

My point is I don't wear niqab as an act of seclusion.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

I'm getting sick of everyone in the ummah thinking the opinion of scholars is what they should use as their benchmark in our religion.
No person is supposed to be closer to God than any other, and Clergy is forbidden by the Quran. We have elevated scholars to the status of Clergy. That in itself is Bida', a grievious sin!

The Quran is always far superior to the sunnah, if something in the sunnah contradicts the Quran then the Quran wins, it's basic logic!

Hassan said...

Rockin' Hejabi, Sunnah does not contradict Quran or vice versa, the QUran itself orders us to follow prophet Muhammad PBUH. Our Sharia comes from both sources.

Yes you are right, we should not elevate scholars to status to what they should not be elevated to. Prophet PBUH said, scholars are the inheritor of him (in knowledge). We ask scholars for their opinions because they have read whole quran and hadiths and know principles of deducing fatwa.

By the way as far as niqab in Quran goes, here is on of the verse:

surah ahzab, verse 59:
"
O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allâh is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

Umm Reem said...

Rockin' Hejabi, I find your logic quite interesting:
"If the Quran commands the believing men to "lower their gaze" when looking at a woman, how can niqab help facilitate that when you MUST look a niqabi in the EYE to communicate with her???? It attracts attention to her eyes! That can't possibly be good."

So, if a sister is wearing Hijab, it attracts attention to her face because everything else is covered! And given that face is the center of beauty, so would that disqualify hijab?

Besides, why would anyone have to (b)look (b/) at someone to communicate. Don't we talk over the phone, neither one is looking at the other!

And lastly, scholars are the inheritors of Prophet Muhammad (saw) as brother Hassan mentioned, so we have to go back to them and this is even said in the Qur'an to ask people of knowledge if we don't understand.
wAllahu ta'ala 'alam

DrMaxtor said...

Looks like Umm Reem beat me to the punch."rockin hijabi" is one of those mwu pro-regressites which explains her whacked out interpretations.

Nono said...

Hassan (9:31 AM): Surah Ahzab, verse 59 is always used as evidence to indicate that the niqab is fard.

However you will find the the actual arabic text of this ayah does not mention anything about "screen[ing] themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way". The words "eye" or "eyes" is not even mentioned at all.

The actual words used in the arabic are "draw their jalabib close around themselves". There are a number of classical opinions about the explanation of this part of the ayah. Among these are, "she should bring the jilbab close to her face without covering it" (reported by ibn Abbas in the tafsir of Tabari, and graded as sahih by Shaykh Albani), and, "Others believe that the women have been directed to secure their jalabib firmly on their foreheads" (commentary of Tabari in his tafsir of this ayah).

The problem here - along with many other evidences used - is that many Muslims are using these poorly translated and biasly interpreted ayah and hadith as proof.

For further reading, please refer to Examining the Dalils for Niqab, which I think does an excellent job to prove that the most sound opinion is that the niqaab is not fard, but highly recommended, inshallah.

Allah knows best.