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Women Rights: Freedom vs Aurat

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Flipping through pages and going through statements to articles that is written and published extensively nowadays about rights and freedom, justice and equality baffled me and sometimes makes me cringe.

One of the issue that draws my concern is regarding aurat. As there are statements and statements that might mislead people.Claiming that it is personal choice of the individu and it does not reflect in any way our faith and piety.

Advocating women’s right and freedom of expression , Sisters in Islam has never fail to address issues that stress how important it is for women to make their own choices on what they should or should not wear. These includes their statements and their own version of interpretation of the Quran of several ayah. One of their statement in February 2006;

“In the history of Islamic jurisprudence and scholarship, there has been no consensus regarding the “right” form of women’s dress. Even the several verses in the Qur’an that talk about women’s dress do not explicitly espouse a specific type of dress. In fact, the Qur’an infers that modesty can be achieved in different forms of dress suitable to different cultures, times and places. Thus, to legislate or regulate on women’s dress based on a perceived single “Islamic” standard is a misguided attempt at representing the breadth of thought and scholarship in Islam. Al-Qur’an surah Al-A’raaf 7:26 mentions about clothes and adornments, but stresses that “….the raiment of righteousness, that is the best.”

It is rather obvious how easy they interpret Quran to suit into their mould of thinking women to have freedom and the rights to wear what they want and please.

Let’s look into this further. I have identify several arguments that hamper a serious misconception and provocation. In January 2004, Marina Mahathir also a co-founding member of SIS wrote in her column;

“I have never known of a great nations built on rules about dress. Great civilisation came out of people who valued knowledge, who wrote books and built libraries, who encouraged thinkers and new ideas.”

“Ensuring all limbs and follicles are hidden does not make schools better or jobs and oppurtunities more available. It does nothing to make things more efficient. It oppresses half the population,”

In April 2009, she wrote in her column titled Justice for the Deserving which was published in The Star;
“So while we may take on the tudung as one step towards heaven, we don’t insist that it carries more weight than that, that is we expect honesty, integrity, sincerity and many other virtues to come with it.

The question will always be, does a dishonest person who wears a tudung or a kepiah have a better chance of going to heaven than one who doesn’t?

And if the answer is yes, then we have something seriously wrong with our value system that prizes the outward rather than the internal, the form over the substance.”

It is pretty obvious on how they make a joke out of this ruling. My argument would be:

1. No, wearing tudung does not justify whether or not we are going to heaven, but it is an effort, the steps we make as a muslim women to obey Gods rule in a quest for us to be loved and become a better servant. And it is a significant our love towards this religion and also shows that there is a part of us that have faith towards Him, towards the hereafter, towards the religion. It makes us a servant that worship Him when we worship His ruling. Ibnul Qayyimm Al-Jauziyyah explain in one of his book the sign of our worship towards His ruling is that we commit to His ruling and take good care of it. So, do not ridicule anyone that is making an effort to commit to that ruling. And for those who does not even make an effort to wear tudung, I believe that also reflects on your faith, whether or not you believe that there will be hereafter and whether or not you believe that Allah is just and would punish us even for a sin that is as big as a mustard seed.

Not even an atom’s weight escapes you Lord on the Earth or in the heaven, nor there is anything smaller or bigger than that, except that it is on record in a Clear Book
(Surah Yunus:61)

2. Great civilisation comes from people who value knowledge that comes from the people that have and that is specialize in that knowledge. When I have a toothache, I won’t be searching for a columnist, or a hairdresser, I would be looking for a dentist. The same goes to when it comes to finding out about Islam, about the Quran, what it says,to understand the meaning, I would be looking for ustadz or ustazah, muslim scholars that have the qualification and the knowledge specialize in that particular field. Why? Because a doctor knows the anatomy of my teeth and he/she has the knowledge to be applied. They don’t just decide on what to take off or what to drill. Is that clear enough? So, don’t talk about what great civilisation will actually be when we ourselvesfail to pursue that most vital thing, fail to find what is the most valuable lesson in getting there, to see the most important thing before we even start to build anything-to follow and believe in Him. It’s the most basic thing.

What will happen if anyone that is looking and searching, to understand Islam, read this manipulation and distortion from a Muslim or the so-called ‘Muslim feminist’? What will they think, since this is published in one of the main newspaper in Malaysia-The Star? These people are so vocal in expressing their thoughts. It is unbearable for people that read these statements and their expression be confused and entangled into this ideology of rights and freedom. We need an environment that support Islamic ruling, that promotes our Muslim generation and community to obey and be a better servant, and even the youngsters to uphold and embrace Islam as it is without manipulation of the hukum. We need that kind of society that will teach them well, make them understand, seek for explanation from the experts, not just question and turn the ruling into their own when it doesn’t fit their mind, because they think they know best.

How does the ruling protect us?

Let’s take this ayah as an example. I will refer to Tafseer Ibnu Kathir, he is a muhadith and a mufassir.
O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their Jalabib over their bodies. That will be better that they should be known so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful
(Surah Al-Ahzab:59)

According to Ibnu Kathir Tafseer’s in here, Allah tells His Messenger (pbuh) to command the believing women –especially his wives and daughters, because of their position of honor –to draw their Jilbabs over their bodies so that they will be distinct in their apperances from the women of Jahiliyyah.

They should be known so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. According to him, it means if they do that, it will be known that they are free and that they are not servants or whores. Syeikh Dr Yusof Al-Qardawi explained that when some women during the Jahiliyyah period left their houses, they display some parts of the beauty such as chest, neck and hair untill they were being harrased by men. Then, the above ayah was revealed commanding women to extend their Jilbab so that the parts that will lead to fitnah will be covered. As a consequence, the Muslim women would not be molested.

This ayah, proves how Allah is protecting us and makes us different from the women of Jahiliyyah. It shows that he doesn’t want us to be seen as whores and servants, that we will be respected.

In Surah al A’raf: 26;
O Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves with, and adornment; and the raiment of Taqwa, that is better. Such are among the Ayah of Allah, that they may remember.

According to Ibn Kathir, Allah reminds His servants that He has given them raiment and adornment. Raiment refers to the clothes that covers the private parts, while adornments refer to the outer adornments used for purpose of beautification. Therefore the first type is essential while the second type is complimentary.

Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam commented this sentence; when one fear Allah, Allah covers his errors. Hence the raiment of Taqwa(that the ayah mentions).

This is rather enough for us to understand that the raiment of Taqwa is not the raiment of just being righteous as claim by them. We should be happy and value all these ayah that guide us to protect us and shows how we are different from other women.

I guess by the end of the day, the questions that follow is what kind of servant we are to Allah, our God? When our understanding and believes seems like it doesn’t make sense to us, do we follow our conscience and nafs to twist it into our mould rather than be patient to seek for the truth?

If that’s the case, then I guess we should dictate our own world and make our own ruling as everything that seems logical to us is better, and the actual truth huhh? Tsk..tskk.

If these people are being stop and are allowed to say and dictate the world, then I believe that in the future, it’s possible that there would be another religion that looks like Islam but in reality its the religion of the so-called ‘Muslim-feminist’. Wow, and should scares each and every muslims in the world.


Sabrina Zaifulizan
Ahli Unit Informasi dan Kajian PEMBINA
Aktivis PEMBINA Bangi

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