Does A Veil Define A Muslim Woman’s Character?

Haider Rifaat

Fear is the first word that comes to my mind when I hear the phrase “Degradation of Women.” Islam, on every level has given women paramount rights more than any living being on earth. On account of the terrorist activities, millions of lives have been affected in both, rural and urban areas of Pakistan. Children’s mindsets, on the other hand are being brainwashed in some religious institutions, even today. Furthermore, several extremist groups have been using children as military weapons. In many rural areas of Pakistan, women are forcibly thwarted from holding pens in their hands. Similarly, there have been cases of sexual enslavement, castigation and physical ill treatment of women who struggled to receive better education from schools and colleges. One of the reasons as to why such piteous cases take place in Pakistan is in view of minimal awareness and lack of education. Some women are forced to wear veils when departing from their households. There have been extreme cases of acids being thrown on Muslim women for not covering their faces in public places.

Terrorist activities in countries such as England and France have caused tremendous amount of fear within their societies. Because of high security risks, a country such as France had banned the veiling system, specifically for Muslim women who cover their faces in public places. Some individuals consider veils to be a threat to their own country. Having lived in the U.S. for most of my life, I have never come across individuals in the U.S. making fun of or abusing Muslim women who wear veils to work on a daily basis. We, as Muslims tend to misjudge countries based on stereotypical beliefs. I fail to comprehend the nature of some individuals who assess women based on their way of dressing than their level of intellect. It all comes down to choices. If a woman feels uncomfortable wearing a veil or scarf in a foreign country where such garments are condemned, then it is her preference. A veil does not define a Muslim woman’s character. Will we become better Muslims if we wore veils? I don’t think so. No individual has been able to define a veil properly. It represents Islamic culture and distinguishes between men and women. Veiling system should never be imposed on women. As modernization has become more prominent in today’s world, women have become self-motivated enough to choose what they want to wear and how they want to live their lives.

Media, on the other hand has played a vital role in empowering young girls to read and write, especially the children living in the rural areas of Pakistan. Freedom of choice should always be an option for every individual, especially for women. As a nation, we have become extremely ignorant and negligent towards our religion. Fortunately, in today’s world, women rights activists have numbered and are striving hard to project the rights of women in a distinctive demeanor. Education is being provided by the government to develop a broader perspective towards Islam and its values. Furthermore, children are being encouraged to study different fields including sciences, law and many other areas to express their perceptions and views. Observing the current situation of Pakistan, I have come to realize how important education really is for our youngsters, especially the girls who are held back from schooling and many other factors that add up to the list.

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