In the August 24, 2013 edition of the ‘Daily Graphic’ Newspaper, an article titled ‘Political Islam Unveiled’ authored by a weekly columnist in the paper, Dr. Gamal Nkrumah, was published.
That article would ordinarily had passed without the need for a rejoinder except that there were elements of plain falsehood and misrepresentations put out there and no part of the article clarified either overtly or covertly that those were subjective views of an individual i.e. the author.
It is in the light of this that I publish this rejoinder hopefully to clear up as much as possible, the ‘damage’ that has been done to the article itself and which could further be done to the public information, whiles at it to educate the populace through this medium on the issue on board.
An article targeted at the Egyptian political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, I dare say veered off into issues clearly legislated, unequivocally so, by Islamic law i.e. the Quran and Sunnah (the traditions of the Prophet Mohammed S.A.W)
The issue in question was on the matter of the Islamically prescribed female dress code called hijab.
The writer, in the seventeenth paragraph of his piece stated unequivocally that, “the veiling of women is not even Islamic...” Ironically however, he would not give a single reason for his assertion from Islamic literature save to credit veiling to ancient Jewish customs adopted by Christians.
Even with that, he would further make reference to Mariam (Mary) mother of Jesus as being depicted with a veil and most likely she did such for propriety sake.
For the records, there are four verses in the Quran, that made mandatory on Muslim women veiling. And all four were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed S.A.W decades after mother of Jesus (Mariam).
The Quran states thus in chapter 33: 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 Allah is Ever Oft – Forgiving, Most Merciful”
The other three verses for purposes of reference can be found in chapters 24: 31, 24: 60 and 33: 53. And in each case women are admonished to don the veil in their own interest and so that their chastity may be guarded and treasured.
There are several other traditions of the Prophet that go to buttress the need for Muslim women as a matter of necessity to put on the veil. All of these are information that are so easily accessible that the writers effrontery in misrepresentation was simply but strikingly baffling.
Indeed, several other allusions were made to the feminine persona throughout the piece and all dovetailed perfectly into the raging global debate on human rights and the seemingly subtle but now glaringly open attempt to portray the veiled Muslim as oppressed.
Without doubt, it was Islam that restored the honor of women in times when English common law, Roman law, the Chinese and Indians as well as pre Islamic Arabia demeaned her status.
That debate I am sure would be for another day and hopefully for a bigger platform.
Again, I would refer the writer to ‘Islam Speaks – the Voice of Islam on Contemporary Issues’ a book authored by Sheikh Ishaak Nuamah, portions of page 28 states: “veiling of woman in Islam is a mark of civility and, indeed an honour to woman. Based on the argument of civilization and the argument of value, it has to be noted that, man was considered uncivilized in the stone age because he/she went naked. When clothing was invented, man was classified as a civilized being. Therefore, covering of the body is a mark of civilization.”
Veiling is rooted steeply in islamic law, and for a country as Egypt, a land where of the 90 million citizens only 5 million are not Muslims, was it an offence that veiled women were allowed after a long while to read the news as reported by BBC?
As for the point about enshrining freedom not to wear veils in a secular constitution; that is exactly where it belongs because the veil is Islamic and so stated in the Islamic constitution i.e. the Quran.
Whiles Hoda Sharaawi’s heroics (at least per the writer’s description) of nearly a century ago (1922) may have been celebrated, the truth really is, that it took nothing away from the fact that the veil is Islamic and would remain as such.
Here we are bombarded left, right and center with images of women FREE to wear that which they so choose to, if we are to go by the ever diminishing size of these clothes; who can deny that we would be headed back into the stone age?
The Islamic legislation on veiling is that it is COMPULSORY (Caps mine), it has never in Islamic history being amenable to subjective interpretation of any individual or group.
The veil is a symbol of modesty and propriety, it is far from a clothe of shame, misogyny and oppression. As for classifying an unveiled woman as a ‘bad girl’ maybe it is a subjective analysis and one that should ordinarily not lead to any rift.
My views on political Islam are available and I hope for space to so espouse them in due course. The platform is most appreciated.