Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's Up With the Head Scarf?

So, I’ve just spent the last two days reading about hijab.

And I am confused.

I mean, it probably would have been a better idea to start with a history lesson of Mohammad (peace be upon him) because much of the commentary surrounding hijab is from Mohammad’s (peace be upon him) youngest wife Aisha.

Anyway, what I gathered, thus far, is this:

Hijab doesn’t mean head covering (or burqa or Persian veil or the no shorts “rule”). It is the modesty in clothing and behavior expressed by Muslims.

That surprised me.

In Arabic, hijab means barrier or cover and in the Qur’an, well, to be honest, there is a lot of discussion about what is hijab and how should it be portrayed. According to Wikipedia, exactly what hijab requires is open to interpretation. In most Islamic areas, it is believed that hijab requires women to cover everything but their hands and face and for men to show nada from their naval to their knees.

It is important to note that some countries require women to fully veil themselves in public (e.g. Iran and Saudi Arabia) and in other countries, veiling oneself in schools is banned (e.g. Frances and Turkey).

Personally, I find hijab especially interesting as societies continue their struggle with the meaning of religious freedom. I get that in some areas, the idea that everyone is equal and there should be no outward display that allows another person to discriminate; however, I am not a big fan of conformist societies. Not to mention, we aren’t all the same, so why should we try to pretend we are?

Okay, enough soap boxing here. Moving on...

Oh! Before I forget, the head scarf is called the khimaar.

(an additional reference - please see previous posts for other information sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijab)

Note: Pictures is from my first Iftar.