Thursday, January 22, 2015

Analytical Essay : Thinking Skills (#2)

Is the Hijab a Symbol of Diversity or a Symbol of Oppression?

The article generally debates about the practices of head covering in Muslim communities. To state the obvious, covering the hair is an obligation in Islam for women as it is part of the aurah. If we take a ride since the moment Islam arrived on Earth 1400 years ago till the 21st century, this era we are currently living in, many came with varied opinions and perceptions towards the ‘hijab’.

Though Muslim women don’t have the liberty to not use the hijab, it does not mean that this particular God sent order is an act of oppression as it downgrades the value of a Muslimat and being considered as ‘second class citizens’ as what Tarico had written in her article. 

Women are put at a right position in Islam and it has never been intended to objectify Muslim women as properties to men. For true believers of Allah and strong practitioners of the Koran, covering the aurah further protects the dignity of a person which is a maqassid in the Shariah (Objectives of the Shariah) rather than being a tool of discrimination.

In the article, I can’t help but to notice multiple occurrences of hasty generalizations made on this particular issue. For example, as written in the article, “Many women who wear the Hijab even in Western countries are forced to wear it due to a pressure from society or their families. I personally know of cases in which women have been beaten up or rejected by their families for refusing to wear the Hijab. My Egyptian friend Reem Abdul Razak was disowned by her father for taking the veil away. An Iraqi friend was kicked out from the house for refusing to wear the hijab any longer even though her reasons were not primarily anti-religious but rather because of the extreme summer heat in Iraq.” 

And according to this extraction, it is a fallacy to make unjustified generalizations. Three people giving impressions that the hijab is a fault in religion is obviously insufficient to say that it is in fact an oppression for women to wear the ‘hijab’. One has to analyse a larger and less biased group of people to come with a legit conclusion.

Also, another fallacy is that Tarico has committed an inappropriate appeal to authority. She referred to Faisal Saeed Al Mutar regarding the passage above. It is profoundly a fallacy since as quoted, “His life experience makes him sceptical about the hijab as a symbol of religious freedom”, as he came from Iraq. It makes him an unreliable source since he was only exposed to that side of Islam which yes, indeed portrays discrimination and double standards. A reliable source must be neutral and has wide and broad exposures on the particular issue discussed.

However, when it comes to an agreement, I support that Tarico inserted Al Mutar’s words, “I suggest creating a help line to help those who are forced, giving them safe houses to escape to. A similar foundation was set up to prevent female genital mutilation by Ayan Hirsi Ali.”

It is an undeniable fact that a few of our sisters in Islam are being subjected to extreme sanctions and oppression. It is a noble effort to creating the help line as encouraged by Al Mutar to aid these people. 

Being a Muslim and a sister in Islam, the Hijab has never been a barrier for me to reach out to the world God has gifted to me. Sadly, some may not see the beauty behind this order but InsyaAllah, one day Allah will open their eyes to witness and experience it themselves.

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