Written by 6:57 μμ Αρθρογραφία, Επικαιροτητα

Is hijab just a propaganda of Islam? | Αναστασία Καταράκη

Aποτελεί τελικά το χιτζάμπ, απλώς προπαγάνδα του Ισλάμ; Καταπατούνται τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα ή προωθούνται; Αν φοράς χιτζάμπ τότε δεν έχεις ελεύθερη έκφραση και προσωπικότητα ή συμβαίνει το αντίθετο; Επιλογή ή υποχρέωση; Θρησκευτική ελευθερία ή υποδούλωση; Οι απαντήσεις είναι πολλές και ποικίλες. Διαφέρουν δε από άνθρωπο σε άνθρωπο. Ένα είναι σίγουρο, πως καμία από αυτές τις απόψεις δεν είναι απόλυτα λάθος αλλά ούτε και απόλυτα σωστή. Οφείλουμε να τις σεβόμαστε όλες, όχι όμως και να τις ενστερνιζόμαστε. Ο κάθε ένας μας πράττει κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού. Και αυτό σημαίνει ελευθερία.

“O Prophet! Ask your wives, daughters, and believing women to draw their cloaks over their bodies.

In this way, it is more likely that they will be recognized ˹as virtuous˺ and not be harassed”

This part of the Quran describes the appropriate attire for women of Islam. To be considered free, and not being (sexually) abused. Indeed, nowadays most Muslim women choose to wear hijab, niqab, or burqa, differing in the ambit they cover. However, we usually use the word hijab as a general concept to describe Muslim women’s garments.

There is a huge division between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities about the role that hijab is giving to women in society, as well as, the body parts that must be covered. Generally, the debate orbits around questions like: Does the hijab deprive the dignity of women or not? Is it just an outdated religious tradition and symbol of deep belief in God? There are no simple answers to these questions.

At the same time, the issue of hijab has been also tied with the issue of gender As for the more “conservative” Muslim circles it is considered that the hijab is a symbol of enslavement and manipulation. Because of the patriarchy binding Islam, the disputants of the hijab view it as a garment that depersonalizes women making them almost invisible. But is that the case?

Hijab Activism

According to American author and activist Samina Ali the tradition of hijab started about 1400 years ago. Back then, there was no sewer system and women have to go outside of the house and the borders of the village to use the toilet. As such, a lot of men would take benefit from this situation to abuse women. But if a lady was covered by outside garments, they knew that this woman is protected by her family. Otherwise, if a woman was not wearing an outside garment, this meant that she was a slave and they could abuse her without any repercussions from family.

So, the outside garment was a symbol of social status. This view of hijab’s origins is supported by the Quran: when some of the residents speak to the prophet Mohamed about the abuse problem that women face in their village, Mohammed, always guided by God, said that if women are dressed all the same and all be coved they will be known as a free woman and not being abused.

Interestingly, in Prophet’s speech, there is no exact clarification of which parts of the body must be covered, meaning that every woman can decide for herself. Furthermore, as garments were a symbol of social status, many inconveniences arose because free women were offended by the fact that they were looking exactly like the slaves. Similarly, slaves found them inconvenient as they could not do their physical jobs easily.

Worth noting is that hijab is not mentioned in any of the three parts of the Quran speaking about women dressing but exists in a completely different context. Hijab is the dichotomy between believers and non, between God and people. Also, the hijab has been named the place where men must be standing when they are speaking to the wives of the Prophet.

Prophet’s Words

Years have passed and the Prophet’s words were and are still misinterpreted by clergymen to justify the further enslavement of women. Due to different translations and interpretations of the Quran, a lot of Muslim clergymen come up with the divergent type of Islamic law, which they then apply to their communities. For instance, some exegesis says that all woman’s bodies must be covered, from the top to the fingertips and until the wrist, leaving only one or both eyes uncovered, so the lady can see where is going, while arms must be covered by gloves. Other exegesis says that the head and breast must be covered but not the face.

Despite the divergent interpretations of the garments, there are a plethora of arguments and reasons used to support the further use of the hijab. Some defenders (maybe an example) argue that the garment accent women’s nature instead of downgrading it. Others claim that First World Countries (West World) untruthfully support the equality of women, but in reality, they give them the role of a lover, using them just to satisfy their sexual will. For instance, they use the example of twin sisters: if two twin sisters go out one with a mini skirt and the other one dressed up modestly, the one with the mini skirt is more likely to be abused than the other. Often Christian Orthodox Role Models are mentioned like the Mother of God never shows up with her head uncovered, rendering her modest and respectable. Last but not least, the hijab is not just a way of dressing but a way of living and behaving too.

Hijab and Feminism

Around the world, hijab has also taken different interpretations. In the United States, Muslim covering is considered staleness. Women today are well educated, not enslaved and they have full control of their bodies. Within the framework of self-determination but also free expression, a lot of Muslims -feminists and non- choose to wear the hijab. When they were asked why

they replied that is a way of connecting with God and feeling close to Him and feeling completely protected from anything harmful in this world.

Generally, the feminist community of Islam is split on the hijab. Contrary to its view as a symbol of oppression, supporters argue that: while women do not make a decision about the garment, they have achieved to establish their role in society and transform the hijab into a symbol of self-definition, self-determination, and resistance to patriarchy. Women have escaped from the old patriarchal norms, and nowadays consciously choose either to work or to stay home housekeeping, or to wear hijab or not. Not just to affirm their belief but also to clarify their role in society. After all, since its beginning, the hijab was connected to female nature.

In the end, we are still stuck with the question: Is the hijab just propaganda of Islam? Does it violate or promote human rights are violated? Does wearing a hijab mean free will and self-expression or the opposite? It is a choice or an obligation? Religious freedom or slavery? Answers are many and varied, differing from person to person. The only sure thing is that none of their answers is completely wrong or completely right. We ought to respect them all but not impose or absorb them. Everyone acts true to his own spirit. That is freedom, above all!

*Special thanks to Islamologists Christina Tselempidou and Athanasia Avramoglou, who were willing to help me out. Also, special thanks to Davit Fusiek who assist me with editing and his job is much appreciated.

Anastasia Kataraki, Journalist and Senior Political Scientist

Πηγή Εικόνας: https://www.google.com/search?q=hijab+islam&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwj_nY2O1cH5AhXuwwIHHZTSAegQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=hijab+islam&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQAzIECAAQEzIECAAQEzIECAAQEzIECAAQEzIECAAQEzIECAAQEzIECAAQEzIECAAQEzIECAAQEzIECAAQEzoECCMQJzoFCAAQgAQ6BggAEB4QBzoECAAQHlD6AljpDWCnD2gAcAB4AIABeogBswaSAQMwLjeYAQCgAQGqAQtnd3Mtd2l6LWltZ8ABAQ&sclient=img&ei=FHj2Yv_DEO6Hi-gPlKWHwA4&bih=939&biw=1680&rlz=1C1GIGM_enGR866GR866#imgrc=s8kOpiYbbYP39M&imgdii=TNb6qxZHQJvhoM

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