The Veil, A Critique
I get so many hits on my blog in search of “ilahije” and “ilahija” and quite a few of you have taken a liking to the Bosnian ilahije that I have on my blog. I’ve been searching youtube a little more these past few days and have run accross quite a few that I’m hoping to translate and post here soon (one more comming up today). Unfortunately, I ran accross one that just has my blood boiling and it will be the first post for today so that I can just vent it all out and then roll off a few more posts so that it’s not straight at the top of my blog – it doesn’t deserve to hold that position but it can’t go ignored either.
First, I want to make it clear that my issue is not with hijab. I choose not to wear hijab. I have researched the matter and my reasons for not wearing it are feminist, some may say political, but they are also religious. I will only submit to Allah. By the same token there are women out there that choose to wear hijab, their reasons are for submitting to the will of Allah and there are plenty of Muslim feminists out there that choose to wear hijab. I not only respect, admire and love women who wear hijab for these reasons but I’ll stand up for them.
That being said, this post is not about whether or not hijab is a requirement, so please do not take it there, I will not take the bait into debate about this on this thread. This post is about the sheer ignorance of this rap ilahija and quite honestly I look at it as a piece of propoganda.
Watch and read:
That scarf which you wear
You must pride yourself with it
Like that my dear sister
You only bring good with it
And that good circles all around you
You are a savior not just for yourself but for others
Don’t you preoccupy yourself with those that give you strange looks.
Who don’t wish to truthfully submit themselves to God
When some sisters pass they act as though some darkness has overcome them
Don’t you fret that you have covered your head in that way, you that have received the mercy of your god
Everyone that thinks that western culture is the answer is devastatingly fooling themselves
Western life is nothing other than disrespecting oneself
Only Islam gives savior, gives the right solution
What kind of system is that where a woman equals a little bit of money?
Where a woman happily deceives her husband?
Would someone like to try that kind of life where a woman is nothing but a disposable object.
In the west’s system prostitution reigns, there are less marriages and morals, everything revolves around money.
Today is a dangerous time.
Every girl who wants safety, let her put a scarf on, that is her best protection.
Truthfully, a woman holds a special place in Islam.
Don’t let doubt take over you in regards to that.
Don’t fall trap to empty stories that women in Islam sit within four walls, truthfully women in Islam have worth.
Those that say that, I swear on Allah, they lie because those are the ones that suffocate themselves with prostitution, drugs, and criminal activity; they are those that destroy everything of worth.
That’s their jealousy which has to grow every day.
That’s why they attack Islam’s honor.
Sister wake your soul and advise others to cover their head.
Don’t you see how others around you suffer and they will until they truthfully return themselves to god.
Okay, honestly, I do take issue that this rapper is claiming that women who do not cover their hair are not truthfully submitting themselves to Allah. I take offense that any person would claim to know how Allah sees our intentions.
However, my biggest issue with this rap is that it is an Islam, as a religion, versus The West, as a society. You can not compare the two. Yes, Islam does treat women as equals and respects women but in reality we can not say the same of Muslim society. By the same token, democracy, as a system, by today’s standards, respects and treats women as equals but we can not by default say the same of society.
Furthermore, statements that prostitution, drugs and criminal behaviour are elements exclusive of western society is a false statement (links above are search to related word and middle east). But what’s worse than those statements is the claim that the veil/scarf are a weapon to protect women from such elements.
The ills of society can not be cured through a veil. This is the reality:
Backstage, the manager sits in his leather chair, doing business. A Saudi client is quoted $500 for one of the girls. Eventually he beats it down to $300. Next door, in a dimly lit room, the next shift of girls arrives, taking off the black all-covering abayas they wear outside and putting on lipstick and mascara.
There are more than a million Iraqi refugees in Syria, many are women whose husbands or fathers have been killed. Banned from working legally, they have few options outside the sex trade. No one knows how many end up as prostitutes, but Hana Ibrahim, founder of the Iraqi women’s group Women’s Will, puts the figure at 50,000.
I met Fatima in a block of flats operating informally as a brothel in Saida Zainab, a run-down area with a large Iraqi population. Millions of Shias go there every year, because of the shrine of the prophet Mohamed’s granddaughter. “I came to Syria after my husband was killed, leaving me with two children,” Fatima tells me. “My aunt asked me to join her here, and my brothers pressured me to go.” She didn’t realise the work her aunt did, and she would be forced to take up, until she arrived.
Fatima is in her mid-20s, but campaigners say the number of Iraqi children working as prostitutes is high. Bassam al-Kadi of Syrian Women Observatory says: “Some have been sexually abused in Iraq, but others are being prostituted by fathers and uncles who bring them here under the pretext of protecting them. They are virgins, and they are brought here like an investment and exploited in a very ugly way.”
This, this, this and this are all problems that Muslim societies face. Forced divorces, women not being able to drive, women not allowed to work, lashings or death sentences passed out for rape victims, honor killings – they are all ills and not of Islam but of Muslim societies. These are the things that are happening to veiled women in societies where the veil is not “our freedom, our choice, our right” but where the veil is “the law”. Shouldn’t we also as Muslim women have the right to freedom of choice? The way I see it, and I sit here in the west, there is nothing more Islamic that exists on this planet than where I sit today. I have the freedom to be a practicing Muslim and the freedom to choose and the right to wear that veil/scarf. I have the ability to partake in my political system through voting, lobbying, and running for office if I so choose. I am more protected as a woman through the justice system here than through any so-called “Islamic State”.
I simply couldn’t let this one go. It angers me to see such lyrics in Bosnian and I can’t fathom this having some sort of influence on anyone.
Oh, and by the way .. shouldn’t this guy be avoiding rapping? Isn’t that a western influence? I mean, me gosh, isn’t rap associated with so many un-Islamic things? Isn’t his rapping basically endorsing all rap?
For those of you that think this is something typical in Bosnia – it’s not. See my post titled The Halqas and a Whirling Dervish which covers a zikir event with Bosnia’s Sulejman Bugari whose apparences require use of microphones (often from the minaret) as the audience spills beyond the interior walls and into the streets.
On proper hijab (question posted by a husband on behalf of his absent wife)
Suleyman Bugari would make an excellent politician as he liked answering our questions with questions. “How many people do you know that hang a tespih in their car but never use one?” We all smiled and nodded.
“Never talk to a woman about covering herself. Talk to her about the pillars of faith. Let her find it for herself. Let her do it because it came to her on its own.”
He went on to tell us about a sixth grader in Bosnia whose parents made her cover. When asked why she covered by classmates that had been ridiculing her she replied “because my father makes me”. It became a fiasco. The story was all over the media and debates had ensued.
“It’s really not pretty when a woman can not explain why she covers her hair. How do you feel when we see a woman who doesn’t know or unconvincingly says “it’s my identity” as opposed to a woman who with all of her heart knows and radiates her reasons through the words that flow from her heart?