And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. (2:226)
The Qur’an, in addressing the believers, often uses the expression,‘believing men and women’ to emphasize the equality of men and women in regard to their respective duties, rights, virtues and merits.
Considering the fact that before the advent of Islam the pagan Arabs used to bury their female children alive, make women dance naked in the vicinity of the Ka’ba during their annual fairs, and treat women as mere chattels and objects of sexual pleasure possessing no rights or position whatsoever, these teachings of the Noble Qur’an were revolutionary. Unlike other religions, which regarded women as being possessed of inherent sin and wickedness and men as being possessed of inherent virtue and nobility, Islam regards men and women as being of the same essence created from a single soul. The Qur’an declares:
O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from this pair scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and reverence the wombs (that bore you); for Allah ever watches over you. (4:1)
Islam does not consider woman “an instrument of the Devil”, but rather the Qur’an calls her muhsana – a fortress against Satan because a good woman, by marrying a man, helps him keep to the path of rectitude in his life. It is for this reason that marriage was considered by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a most virtuous act. He said: “When a man marries, he has completed one half of his religion.” He enjoined matrimony on Muslims by saying: “Marriage is part of my way and whoever keeps away from my way is not from me (i.e. is not my follower).” The Qur’an has given the raison d’�tre of marriage in the following words:
And among His signs is this, that He has created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them; and He has put love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (30:21)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was full of praise for virtuous and chaste women. He said:
“The world and all things in the world are precious but the most precious thing in the world is a virtuous woman. He once told the future khalif, ‘Umar: “Shall I not inform you about the best treasure a man can hoard? It is a virtuous wife who pleases him whenever he looks towards her, and who guards herself when he is absent from her.”
On other occasions the Prophet said:
“The best property a man can have is a remembering tongue (about Allah), a grateful heart and a believing wife who helps him in his faith.” And again: “The world, the whole of it, is a commodity and the best of the commodities of the world is a virtuous wife.”
Before the advent of Islam women were often treated worse than animals. The Prophet wanted to put a stop to all cruelties to women. He preached kindness towards them. He told the Muslims: “Fear Allah in respect of women.” And: “The best of you are those who behave best to their wives.” And: “A Muslim must not hate his wife, and if he be displeased with one bad quality in her, let him be pleased with one that is good.” And: “The more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.”
FROM WOMAN TO WOMAN FOR WORLD HIJAB DAY
World Hijab Day is observed every year on February 1st to honour the millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab. Hijab is a headscarf that covers the female’s hair, neck, and upper part but leaves the face exposed. Every year, women from all over the world of various ethnic backgrounds and beliefs are encouraged to try on the hijab for a day to discover how it feels.
Nazma Khan, a Bangladeshi woman from the United States, founded World Hijab Day in 2013. ‘The goal of the event is to encourage women of various faiths and backgrounds to experience what it’s like to wear a hijab,’ said the organizer. Many women who wear hijab face numerous challenges and are frequently subjected to harsh behavior and insults,’ she claims as the motivation for organizing this event.
She thinks that February 1, 2022, is a perfect opportunity for non-Muslim women to try on the hijab as an event organiser. This day is observed in support of Muslim girls and women who prefer to wear the hijab around the world. It’s also to raise awareness about the difficulties that hijab wearers experience. World Hijab Day is observed to promote religious tolerance and understanding among people of different religions and communities, she explains.
In these modern times,the question of hijab or the scarf is still one of the most controversial issues both in the muslim countries and the West, where it causes collective hysterical paroxysm. Hijabophobia is a type of religious and cultural discrimination against muslim women who wear it. Discriminations had manifested in public, working, and educational places. Hijabophobia is a term referring to hostility against muslim women who wear scarves, including the niqab/burqa. It is considered a gender-specific type of Islamophobia.
Discrimination is more than rude stares or remarks; it includes actions too. Many hijabis were denied in job applications for practicing Islam. Studies have found that Muslim women with a college education are less likely to be chosen for a job against non-Muslim women with a similar level of education. Some assaults can go as far as physical abuse. Women were beaten up inadequately because of their preferences in dressing up. On a lesser extent, yet a vital note, women are threatened with verbal abuse. Some women had their hijabs ripped off from their heads just to spite them.
There are news reports often showcasing many attacks against these women who are wearing a hijab.
These events somehow subliminally make other women scared to wear hijab. Allah mentioned in the Quran;
“O humanity! Indeed, we created you from a male and a female, and you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Surely Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.”
This verse, the whole of mankind has been addressed to reform it of the great evil that has always been causing universal disruption in the world, that is, the prejudices due to race, color, language, country, nationality, and ways of living among the people.
In Islam, the Quran instructs Muslim women to dress modestly;
“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, or their brothers’ sons or their sisters’ sons, or their women or the servants whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex, and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O you Believers, turn you all together towards Allah, that you may attain Bliss.”
Beside preserving a woman’s beauty, the true purpose of the hijab is to strengthen her connection with God and a form of obedience to Allah, but the world has objectified it to be the opposite because of racism and Islamophobia.
Hence, OMERA would like to invite all Malaysians to challenge these stereotypes. Let us stop the hate and discrimination towards women who choose to wear hijabs; to be treated with respect and dignity. Together we support World Hijab Day – was actually initiated by Nazma Khan – day for both Muslim and non-Muslim women to experience wearing a headscarf; celebrated on Feb. 1, the day is an expression of solidarity and support for religious freedom. Let us all be united and stay on each other’s back against any forms of hostility upon hijabis, in shaa Allah.
Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “May Allah have mercy on the foremost women of the Muhajirun. When Allah revealed the verse, ‘Let them draw their cloaks over their bodies,’ (24:31) they cut their sheets and veiled themselves with them.”
(Sahih Bukhari 4758)
- DAFFODIL FLOWER : Is a variation of the scientific name of the flower, Asphodel. They signify respect and admiration.
- THE GLADIOLUS FLOWER : Represents strength of character, a form of dignity.
- THE BUTTERFLY : Represents strength of character, a form of change/new/transformation/rebirth- new perspective on hijab wearing.
- THE CROWN :Represents honor, glory, as well as righteousness, and resurrection; a form of power – we as women should embrace and honor ourselves.