KOBLENZ, Germany (ViaNews) – I went to look for answers at the very heart of Europe, in Germany. Koblenz is a city in central Germany which I know well, so I talked to the Muslim community there so to understand its views about women wearing the hijab, the headscarf worn in public by some Muslim women.
A Muslim man from an Asian country came to me and pointed out to the fact that a Muslim girl we both knew had suddenly decided to ditch her headscarf. The girl we were talking about is Farahnaz Boromand, a 17-year-old immigrant from Iran. I asked her about her decision and what she thinks about his comments. Her response was “my personal decisions should not concern anyone, Muslim men need to learn about boundaries and their religion”.
How the German Islamic leaders view the hijab
Imam Noman Khalid of the local Ahmaddiya mosque in Koblenz, Germany, told Via News that “it’s their choice. Ladies should not be forced to wear hijab.” He further added that “although there is no punishment for not observing hijab, Islam commands both men and women to stay modest.
This teaching is to prevent indecent behaviour in the society.” he concluded.
The opinion of another Muslim woman who wears a Hijab
Another Muslim lady Atia Bari, a 30-year-old mother, wears hijab because of her “cultural upbringing and also to abide by the religious teachings”. She said “I further understood the concept of hijab when I read about it and thence I was convinced in my heart. My personal opinion is that hijab begins within one’s heart and then you should wear a headscarf on your head.” She wishes that non-muslims understood that “hijab is not an obstacle for Muslim women”. She is well aware of the facts that some of the “European governments want Muslim woman to get rid of a piece of cloth on heads”. In a compromise, she has “stopped covering” her face because the culture allows it and she is still practising her chosen faith.
What the Islam teachings say regarding wearing the hijab
Non-Islamic cultures do not require women to wear hijab. What seems a surprise to many is the fact that Islam teachings don’t also require women to wear hijab.
To spell this out for Muslim men, sacred texts like the Quran are used to clear things out. One such teaching comes in the form of a sentence “Advise the Believing males that they restrain their eyes and guard their private sexual parts. This is purer for them.” In the next verse, women are commanded the same. Another teaching reinforcing the same idea tells the story of the Prophet of Islam who was once riding with his companion Al Fadl ibn Abbas when a woman, described to be strikingly beautiful, approached to seek guidance in some religious matter. Al Fadl started staring at her. The prophet noticed it and he “reached his hand backwards catching Al Fadal’s chin and turning his face to the other side. So that he would not gaze at her”. Thus established that women did not need to be told or scolded for dressing in a way that revealed their body.
Society’s take on using the hijab
We should make an effort to understand that these women need some space to adjust to the culture and when they decide to keep their headscarf on, we have the responsibility to encourage them and make them feel that they are part of the society.
They have potential to accomplish anything either way. If we feel pride for Farahnaz’s decision to ditch her hijab we should also be accommodating to those who still wear it.