In fact, there are many different styles.
I am by no means an expert on Islamic headscarves ; however, and for this very reason, I’ve been reading on the subject. I come from a very Christian famille, so, most of my knowledge on religion spawns from my childhood churchgoing days; however, at université, I took a classe called World Religions. It covered various religions throughout the globe; I found it very interesting and thus did very well in the classe. But, one classe does not make me an expert. However, I would like to take this post to explore headscarves.
In France, headscarves and other religious paraphernalia are forbidden in government places such as écoles publiques. As you can imagine, this has caused quite a bit of controverse.
Another thing to note is that while people should have the freedom to express their religion in the form of religious symbols and whatnot, people should respect the laws of the country where they live/they immigrate to. As I mentioned here, France practices laïcité. At the bas, France’s laïcité law has some good behind it: It creates an atmosphere where only You, as an individual free from religion, matter. That is to say that everyone is considered to be exactly the same, so, judging a person based on his/her religious beliefs is not an option. This can be a good thing in that it eliminates religious discrimination; however, if you identify with a particulier religious belief, then you probably think that laïcité is one big contradiction. For exemple, how can the focus be on you if you can’t fully express yourself? This is where the headscarf debate enters the argument.
This is also when ignorance enters. To understand why headscarves have entered into Islamic société, we must dive into the past. As with many cultures, nudité was the norm (see: The Myth of the ‘Islamic’ Headscarf by Omar Hussein Ibrahim for more reading). Just like Adam and Eve eventually found a
way need to ‘cover up’, the Arab population found this need as well. Abdullah Rahim explains it the best: It was the Prophet who decided that this was derogatory: “people reveal[ed] their private parts unintentionally during prostration in the prayers.” When you wear a tiny clothe, something’s bound to peep through as you bend during prayers. Thus, the population became more conscious about covering up.
Wearing the Khimar did not begin as a religious act. In fact, the scripture is strict when it comes to explaining how people must dress – it’s goal: To be as clear as possible in order to change an entire nation who accepted nudité as a norm. There is nothing in the verse of the Surat An Nur that states that women must cover their heads, only that women must cover their breasts. So, how does the Khimar as a headscarf fit into this history? Well, according to Rahim, “Khimar was the most obvious clothe to use” to cover up the bosom.
In société contemporaine, one wonders: If headscarves are not listed in the Qur’an as mandatory, then why do so many Muslim women abide by them? Well, there is a simple answer: Headscarves are a partie of Islam culture. They have become a knitted clothing tradition. According to Caitlin Killian in The Other Side of the Veil: North African Women in France Respond to the Headscarf Affair, headscarves are “a vehicle for distinguishing between women and men and a means of controlling male sexual desire.”
Similar to the ever popular ‘little black dress’ of Western société, headscarves have become a huge partie of société: Today, we can see headscarves advertised in magazines and in clothing shops; and made from expensive matières and embedded in jewels.
In fact, many Islamic fashion magazines, such as Âlâ, are no different than the Western société fashion magazines, such as Vogue. There’s no (or very little) mention of religion, instead there’s a focus on the latest kind, kooky, and belle headscarf styles and on importante/popular muslim women.
As I previously mentioned, I don’t pretend to be an expert on Muslim veils; however, I find the sujet intéressant – spécialement, living in a country that practices laïcité, yet has an ever growing Muslim population. La vie est surement animé ! ♦
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