A scientific and legal unraveling of the Islamic requirements for veiling the Muslim women and sequestering for violent punishments for adultery, and also for the Muslim women from being allowed to see only through one eye for the fear that the two female eyes will be so attractive that they will turn men into beasts..
Not being a One-Eyed Woman
This article is a fatwa to unveil the veil. I hope, it will contribute toward liberating the Muslim Women from the violent and lethal punishments for adultery, liberty to free will, equal rights to education and standards of living!
This is an explanatory article for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. For Muslim women, this article is set out as a valid religious opinion on the status of the veil and its more oppressive forms of physical suppressions of women; for Non-Muslim women, its grounds are human commonsense and compassion. It includes scientific and biological arguments, which are valid for all human beings traversing all cultures, and which have implications for the practices of Islam as well as others???
In religious terms, this is a fatwa rejecting the claim that in Islamic teachings, women are required to wear the full-veil, or that it is desirable to do so by cowardly females. It has come about now, because a Saudi cleric has called on Muslim women to wear full-veil or niqab that reveals only one eye. Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan, an influential conservative cleric, who was answering questions on the Muslim satellite channel, Al-Majd, said:
‘by showing both the eyes, encourages women to use eye make-up to look seductive and alluring. Although the one-eyed niqab is part of an older tradition, noted in the hadiths. When a religion gets to the point of issuing a command that half the people on the planet are to be allowed to see only through one eye, whenever they go out in the world, it brings that religion into disrepute...? To cut out one eye from being able to perceive the world at large, is an assault on the most basic integrity and autonomy of the human being. The need to cover the woman entirely comes from a mistaken notion that because women are beautiful and attractive; they are entirely awrah (woman’s sexual parts), and thus must be entirely concealed, even to covering one eye or they will pose a shameful threat to themselves and to their family, through being uncontrollably attractive to strange men... This is an assault, not only on women, the sex who bear the living generations of humanity, but on men, social trust, the natural world, and our access to it. It stands alongside dire punishments such as stoning women for adultery, which are an affront to the bismillah “Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate”. Neither niqab, nor stoning, are in the Qur’an, so it is a time to take stock and make the way clear, so women will not continue to be oppressed’…
Having two eyes is a fundamental adaptation of all living organisms; am I right in this claim? There is not one animal that has only one eye, from vertebrates through insects to molluscs. Having two eyes while out in the world is pivotal for survival, because it enables binocular depth perceptions… If Allah (the great?) gave all beings two eyes, then what was it good for and what are the reasons for this sort of forbearing?
It is inconceivable that Allah would deny it to the females of the human race, who bear the live young for the continuity of human race. Simply for this reason, they are must be attractive to men; for the generations to prosper and to survive, women play a pivotal part in the reproduction processes. To deny this right to women, because they may be attractive to men, is a diabolical punishment, invented by nothing but purely eccentric male jealousy only! And hmmmmm…, the same is Allah’s thinking, too?
A fatwa is a religious opinion on the laws by Islamic scholars; and above all, it is also by the god of Islam! The clarity and authority of this argument stems from our broad scholarly experience of the Christian, Jewish, pre-Islamic and present Islamic cultural and religious traditions, without being bound to the restrictions or beliefs, imposed by one sect or traditions… such as Shia’h or Sunni or any other sects. The argument is also clear, in terms of natural biology and female reproductive choices, as a foundation for the emergence and evolution of the human intelligence and the passage of the generations to come. In Quranic terms, this fatwa is a ‘clear argument’, in terms of Surah 43:61-63 concerning Isa (Esau) , to “make clear to you part of what you differ in”.
While the conservative scholars try to finesse the Qur’an and Hadiths together (see later) into a tortuous justification for imposing these assaults on the Muslim women’s sovereignty, all independent authorities confirm, there is no basis for these restrictive claims by Islam... Moreover the idea that Allah, prefers women veiled or that a Muslim woman’s entire body or that everything, except her face and hands, is awrah (pudenda) to be ashamed of or that the women needs to be veiled to protect themselves from the ravages of men, and society from immorality, is a false teaching, used by Muslim males to control the Muslim female’s sexual and reproductive choices, and to limit the Muslim women’s access to educational, social and political independence?
The dehumanization of a personal identity, God did not ordain that women, who are the bearers of the generations of humanity, should be reduced to depersonalized ghosts…!.
Does the Quran Require Muslim Women to be Veiled?
The internet encyclopedia About.Com poses the following question:4 ‘Does the Quran Require Women to Wear the Veil?’
One of the most visibly contentious issues for Islam in the Western world is the women's wearing of veil. To so-called westerner conservatives, the veil is a symbol of oppression. To majority of Muslims, it is a symbol of an empowerment, both for its explicit rejections of the Western values and its implicit meanings as a status symbol: many Muslims women see the veil as a sign of distinction, the more so because it evokes a connection to the Prophet Muhammad and his wives. But does the Quran, in fact, require women to cover themselves with a veil, a chador or any other such forms of head covering?
Answer: The quick answer is a relevant NO! -The Quran has no such requirements that any Muslim women need to cover their faces with a veil, or to cover their whole bodies with the full-body burqa or chador; as it is mandatory in Iran, Afghanistan or any other such Islamic Shari’ah government laws being dominated in countries of the world.
But the Quran does address the matter of veiling in such ways that, it has been interpreted historically if not necessarily correctly, by Muslim clerics as applying to all women kind... The veiling of the Muslim women was not an Islamic innovation but a Persian and the Byzantine-Christian customs that Islam had adopted. For most of Islam’s history, the veil in its various forms of bodily coverings was seen as a sign of distinction and self-protection for the upper-class Muslim women. Since the 19th century, the veil has come to represent more assertive, self-consciously Islamic expressions, sometimes in reaction to Western currents: colonialism, modernism, feminism.
Initially in Muhammad's lifetime, the veil was not an issue. His wives didn't wear it, nor did he order that other women in Arabia wear it. As he became more important in his community, and as his wives gained stature, Muhammad began adapting the Persian and Byzantine customs. The veil was among those customs. The veiling goes back to the Assyrians, for whom veiling was not mandatory but a privilege of wealthy married women. The prescribed requirement was the reverse -that prostitutes and slave-women should NOT be veiled. This polarity, in which the unveiled are regarded as licentious loose character women, has continued in Arab Muslim traditions, leading to harassment and violence against unveiled women in both traditional Muslim and Western cultures. There are two passages in the Quran referring to the veil, Surahs 33:53,55 and 24:30-33, whose origins we shall examine in detail next. It neither says specifically that women in general should wear the veil nor that they should be covered from head to toe or be prevented from seeing or being seen.
A History of the Prophet’s Statements on the Veil
Wiebke Walther 6 notes 7: ‘Closely connected with the veil is the exclusion of women from public life, based on a verse in the Koran which refers only to the wives of the Prophet’:
When ye ask them (i.e. the wives of the Prophet) for any article, ask them from behind a curtain; that is purer for your hearts and for theirs” (Surah 33: 53, 55)
An Arab historical work, dating from the ninth century, claims this revelation originated at the marriage of Muhammad to the beautiful Zaynab Bint Jahsh the former wife of his adopted son Zayd Ibn Haritha. Muhammad, had once seen Zaynab in her undergarments as he was about to enter Zayd's house and had coveted her from then on. Zayd wanted to divorce her immediately so that Muhammad could marry her, but Muhammad did not want to accept Zayd's offer.
But then Zaynab had been married with Zayd against her will and now displayed a clear lack of affection for him. In the end, her marriage with Muhammad took place. Towards the end of the wedding feast, the guests showed no signs of departing. This shows that Zaynab's attractiveness for her guests was considered to have been very great! Muhammad impatiently left the room several times and went out into the courtyard, hoping that he would finally be left alone with his new bride. But this was not the case. It was now that the verse quoted above was revealed to him’ Mohammed fell in love with this woman and asked Zayd to divorce her and he married her in the year 628 CE. She was 38 years old. The Koran Surah 33-37 gives the prophet the right to marry his adopted son’s wife as an example to those that should follow:
When Zayd had accomplished his want of her, we gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished their want of them; and Allah’s command shall be performed. (Q 33.37)
Two Muslim opinions that universal veiling and curtaining of women is not prescribed
"the so-called legal scholars assume positions that it is categorically forbidden for a woman to travel by herself for any purpose, so you mean to tell me that all these masters, who were women Imams, who traveled the Muslim world, they were teachers in public -some of them were on the minbar (mosque pulpit) themselves" ..."And her face was uncovered?" "Was she old? Some say when a woman is very, very old" "No she was very young".
"The women of Medinan society were more revolutionary than their granddaughters in the modern Muslim world.” Dr. Tariq Suwaidan: “In many places in the Muslim world, tradition has taken over ... If we take a deep look at what was practiced in the life of the Prophet... then we will see very clearly that there were no walls or curtains separating men from women except in one case and that is the wives of Muhammad ... unfortunately many of the scholars and later on many of the masses have taken what is for the wives of the Prophet (our mothers) and applied it to all Muslim women and thus should not talk to them except from behind a separation like a curtain.”
“O Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (Surah 33.59).’
This does not say specifically that a Hijab, or more extreme covering of everything, but the eyes, or one eye, such as niqab, or burqa, is obligatory. Nor can one fairly claim this is a command of God, or al-Llah, because it has an origin in simple propriety when going to the toilet. Moreover there are clearly major differences of interpretation and cultural expectations of dress style among Muslims in the world today, so it cannot be mandatory in Islam, nor the will of God. Islamic opinion and the translations of this passage are varied and used in misleading ways to imply face cover. In a web site advocating the niqab the verse is first translated as follows:
‘O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks ("Jalabib") veils all over their bodies (screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way Tafseer Al-Qurtabi) that is most convenient that they should be known (as such) and not molested and Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful."
The Arabic text of this ayat is, "Ya ayyuha an-Nabi, qul li azwajika wa banatika wa nisa al-muminin yudnina alayhinna min jalabib hinna; dhalika adna an yu'rafna fa laa yu'dhayn. Wa kana Allahu Ghafur ar-Rahim", which literally translates as:-
"O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (jalabib) close around themselves; that is better that they are recognized and not annoyed. And God is Most Forgiving, Merciful".
There are actually a number of opinions given in this tafsir about what to "draw their jalabib close around themselves" means. Among these are, "she should bring the jilbab close to her face without covering it" (reported by ibn Abbas in this 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 ayat). Thus we can see that it is a valid opinion that the jilbab does not have to cover the face?
An early Arabian historian explains that Muhammad's wives had been bothered by his opponents in Medina, when they left the house at night to 'relieve themselves', because they took unveiled women for slaves (Walther). This ties in with Assyrian traditions in which it was mandatory for all slaves and 'available' women to be unveiled and veiling was a 'privilege' of the wealthy married women. It is known fact that the noble ladies of the trading city of Mecca wore veils even before Islam’s conquest. There is no specific mention of veiling the face. In a hadiths in Sahih Bukhari (1.4.149) Muhammad allowed his wives to go out in the desert, in a secluded spot under the night sky, to answer the calls of nature hidden under the trees and shrubs, although he restricted them to the night hours only. In Sahih Bukhari (6.60.203) we also read that performing sexual intercourse in the open sky was quite common in those days. Nevertheless, Umar the second Caliph, urged Muhammad to change this. Umar used to watch these ladies in the open and requested Muhammad to cover his wives with veils whenever they went out to do their business in the open fields at night. At first, Muhammad ignored Umar’s plea, but when Umar kept pestering, Muhammad turned to Allah for His suggestions, resulting in Surah 33:59...???
Thus there is no valid claims, that can be made by the Islamic scholars that the veil is somehow ordained or preferred by Allah or that women are pudenda over their entire body and so must be secluded and their shame be covered, even to the extent that they can see only through one eye? It is simply a tradition that Muhammad instituted for his wives, both out of impatience at undue interests in a new wife he desired to consummate his marriage with, and a concern at the vulnerability of his own many wives in public. These are the very last reasons, as to why a woman should give credence to or to justify these impositions upon their autonomy, of a requirement to cover themselves from head to toe.
The most eminent tafsirs (exegesis) writer, Ibn Kathir comments on this verse: Here Allah tells His Messenger to command the believing women -especially his wives and daughters, because of their position of honour -to draw their Jibes over their bodies, so that they will be distinct in their appearance from the women of the Jahiliyyah and from slave women. The Jilbab is a Rida', worn over the Khimar. This was the view of Ibn Mas'ud, 'Ubaydah, Qatadah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Sa'id bin Jubayr, Ibrahim An-Nakha'i, 'Ata' Al-Khurasani and others. It is like the Izar used today. Al-Jawhari said: "The Jilbab is the outer wrapper... 'Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn 'Abbas said that Allah commanded the believing women, when they went out of their houses for some need, to cover their faces from above their heads with the Jilbab, leaving only one eye showing. Muhammad bin Sirin said, "I asked 'Ubaydah As-Salmani about the Ayat: (to draw their Jalabib over their bodies.) He covered his face and head, with just his left eye showing.'' (That will be better that they should be known so as not to be annoyed) means, if they do that, it will be known that they are free, and that they are not servants or whores.
However the flip-side of this ruling is dire and violent: NOT wearing the hijab equates a woman under the Quran and under the Islamic laws to mere slaves or whores... They are thus considered as meat for abuse, or even rapes!!! When a violent rape of non-Muslim Australian girls by young Muslim men took place in 2007 in Australia, Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, the nation's most senior Muslim cleric, compared immodestly-dressed women, who do not wear the Islamic headdress, with ‘meat that is left uncovered in the street and is then eaten by cats’:
Addressing 500 worshippers on the topic of adultery, Sheik al-Hilali added: "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it… whose fault is it -the cats or the uncovered meat?” "The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab (veil), no problem would have occurred."
In outlining the sexual discriminations in even the Quranic provisions, these restrictions on the Muslim women's modesty, are far more detailed and severe than for Muslim men:
Men: “Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do” (Surah 24.30).
Women: “And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess [slaves], or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! So that you may be successful” (Surah 24.31).
Essentially Muslim women are regarded as sexually so provocative and sensual that, unless they are completely regulated they will either entice Muslim men into fornication or they will become helpless victims of male ardour! This is confirmed by the way a Muslim woman who is no longer sexually enticing is exempted:
“And (as for) women advanced in years who do not hope for a marriage, it is no sin for them if they put off their clothes without displaying their ornaments; and if they restrain themselves it is better for them; Allah is Hearing, Knowing” (Surah 24.60).
Thus the source of veiling and chaperoning is the idea that the Muslim men cannot control their sexual desires and that this is a Muslim woman’s fault for being ‘shameful enticing pudenda over her entire body’, so that even if it is covered entirely by an abaya with only their two eyes showing, the beauty of their eyes alone might seduce a Muslim man who is not their husband, brother, father, or uncle; essentially and centrally a defence of tribal honour, so that a Muslim woman should have to see only through one eye wherever she goes, outside the seclusion of the zenana, or women’s quarter in their homes...
Continued in Part 2