A lot of mockery has been created by the western media ever since France intended to have a ban on the face veil or burqa.Albeit,many Muslims scholars have given a contradicting opinion about this issue,I tend to disagree with those who oppose the idea of concealing their face.To further strengthen my view,I have just made an attempt to get a fair perception about it from different religions.
Initially,we shall discuss about the importance of hijab and veil in Islam.In Islam the commandments about covering are very clear. The Holy Quran advises Muslim ladies to observe covering for their own good. Not as a sign of subservience, but as a security measure so “they may thus be recognised and not molested” (33:60). Similarly Quran helps them understand that their beauty is not so worthless that every other person should be enjoying it. Instead it is exclusive for their husbands (24:32). However, unlike Bible Quran does not prescribe any punishment for those ladies who choose not to cover themselves. They are still an active part of the Muslim society.
The Noble Qur’an – Al-Ahzab 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.
Tafseer – Alu’si, Rul-ul-Ma’ani, Vol. 22, p. 89
“Ibn Jarir Tabari and Ibn Al-Mundhir described the method of wearing the jalbaab according to Ibn Abbas (ra) and Qatadah (ra). The sheet should be wrapped around from the top, covering the forehead, then bringing one side of the sheet to cover the face below the eyes so that most of the face and the upper body is covered. This will leave both eyes uncovered (which is allowed in necessity).
Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Hadith # 572
In the end of this very long hadith it quotes Anas (Radhiallaahu Ánho) rates from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) “and if one of the women of Paradise looked at the earth, she would fill the whole space between them (the earth and the heaven) with light, and would fill whatever is in between them, with perfume, and the veil of her face is better than the whole world and whatever is in it.” This show that even the women of Jannah have veils and the word veil is what covers the face (niqaab).
Stated that in verse 30 and 31 of Surah An Nur “What has been allowed to be shown is the hands, bangles and rings but the face must be covered”.
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: “The riders used to pass by us when we were with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in ihraam. When they came near, each of us would lower her jilbaab from her head over her face, and when they passed by we would uncover (our faces).” [Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1833; Ahmad, 24067]
This hadith has decisive proof that Niqab is Wajib, because the blessed wives of Prophet (salallaho alaihi wasalam) kept extreme care of covering themselves and did not reveal their faces infront of strangers, however when women are with their husbands and those with whom their Nikah is impermissible (being single that is) they can take off the face veil
Also,if we see in Hinduism and Christianity,the importance of veil is clearly highlighted.
It is mentioned in the Rig Veda Book no. 8 Hymn no. 33 V. no. 19
“When Brahma has made you a woman, you should lower your gaze and should not look up. You should put your feet together and you should not reveal what the garment and the veil conceals.”So,the Rig Veda says that the woman should wear the veil.
It is further mentioned in the Mahavir Charitra Act 2 Page 71 that when Purshuram comes, Rama tells his wife Sita that “He is our elder, please lower your gaze, and put on the veil. “Rama tells his wife Sita to put on the veil and to lower her gaze.
If we read historical books, the books talking about the Coin Age, the Age of the Gupta and the post Gupta age, there are coins , on which there are pictures of the Indian woman wearing the veils and the veil are going upto their shoulders, some go upto the arms. There are many Indian woman in the villages who wear the veils, some of the woman even cover their faces.
According to Torah, Rebekah is reported to have covered herself completely at the sight of Isaac when she saw him first (Genesis: 24:64-65).This incident proves the practice of face covering in the early Jewish society. The Bible also describes the wearing of a head cover as an inherently righteous undertaking and inability to practice it is considered a shameful act. Bible even prescribes the punishment of shaving heads for those women who choose not to cover their heads(1 Corinthians: 11:5-6).
The verses quoted from the Quran,Bible and hindu scriptures prove that Hijab and veil are religous commandments. May be president Sarkozy should re-read Bible for a change. For the veil and Hijab are not only found in the Holy book of Islam but also in the Holy book that he follows. That is, if he is a true Christian. The only difference is that Islam is broad-minded enough to have not made covering a sign of women’s subservience.
The burqa will remain a controversial but necessary topic of discussion, but if we are to discuss these issues let us do so from an objective position without resorting to racial, cultural or political prejudices.