Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, August 7th, 2020

Is Niqab a Type of Islamic Clothing?


Is Niqab a Type of  Islamic Clothing?

In Afghanistan, there is a bitter and quasi-funny story about Burqa, the type of Islamic veil or Hijab Taliban regime enforced during its rule in 1996-2001. As all of you know that during that period, women were strictly prohibited to leave their residents without a male partner, whatever was the reason even if it was absentee of their male partners, male family members or even emergency issues like buying drugs and medicine for a patient.

If any one dared to violate the law and take of out of the house, there were not actually civil courts to persecute them because if all such issues were referred to court of law, there was need of numerous civil courts. And the expense of maintaining such an establishment was also beyond the capacity of regime's budget. Thus, Taliban were just lashing on streets wherever they noticed a woman without a male partner.

Once a woman went out with her husband for shopping to a densely-populated area of Kabul. But for a while they become separated and they lost each other. Since putting on a Burqa was compulsory, all were completely similar, because almost all used to wear a blue color Burqa which was, let's say, a Taliban-sharia uniform for Afghan women. So, it was quite difficult for the husband to identify his wife just looking after her among other women. "Burqa is a type of clothing which completely covers body and face.

" So, what he could do? He comes and stands in a traffic circle, trying to pretend being as innocent as not to look as suspicious stalker for Taliban, otherwise Allah help him, And asking each and every female commuter, "I am really sorry, you are like my sister and my mother, tell me, are you my wife or not?".

As well, recently, the controversies over the issue of niqab banning in France, I had a tough argument with friends and some of them blamed me of criticizing the basic principles of Islam. however, they were not in position that I should had discussed and showed them how this form of clothing has become a symbol of extremism and how it brought miseries to Afghan people. So, I just avoided arguing with them.

For particular spectrum of people, wearing niqab has the value to even getting it by death. It is not an exception even, seeing a religious scholar crying on girls putting on jeans, but rarely care about a suicidal attack that leaves several dead and injured. What I should say about such attitude and thought which does not value the live of human beings but become heartbroken for a song released by TV channel.

The case of niqab in France for me is an issue which has nothing to do with the true concept of Islam. Let's analyze the issue on basis of Islamic jurisprudence. According to prevalent Fiqah or Islamic jurisprudence Hijab is must for a mature Muslim female, and of course hijab is not compulsory for children. But status of being an adult or child is different according to international law from that of Islamic Sharia.

According to Islamic jurisprudence, a nine year age old girl is recognized as mature girl and she must put on Hijab and follow Islamic rituals like Praying (namaz) fasting (roza) and etc, while according to international law, below 18 both male and female are children and they will be persecuted on the basis of children punitive laws, if they commit any crime. The adulthood age for girls start with observing her first period of maelstrom, and there are numerous appreciations of those who marry their daughters before she experiences her first period. How this notion is pragmatic, I just leave it to Islamic scholars.

Noteworthy to notice, Hijab is different from that of niqab and Burqa, however, both are accepted as form of Islamic clothing. What is compulsory in Islam is Hijab, not essentially Niqab and Burqa. According to Shiite and Sunni fiqah or jurisprudence, a female must put on Hijab when she reaches to the age of adulthood—nine year old. It comprises covering of head and entire body, including arms up to wrist and feet up to ankle.

In another word, an adult female can leave exposed and uncovered her hands up to wrist and feet up to ankle as well as entire face in such a manner that her hair is not exposed, while niqab covers face too. But, meanwhile, there are numerous quotations that appreciate those women who cover their hands and feet, particularly when practicing religious rituals or communicating with male and avoid movements which are somehow sexually arousing.

Thus, wearing niqab is certainly not prohibited in Islam but further appreciated. But the thing should be noticed is that avoiding niqab is not against Islam or it is not un-Islamic. In another world, simply wearing a type of Islamic hijab which leaves face, hands and feet uncovered is enough. There is no necessity to put on niqab.

Those who do not put on niqab will not be punished by Allah in the resurrection day. I think even the Islamic law regarding hijab can be interpreted differently too. The philosophy behind wearing niqab is to keep the modesty and decent of a Muslim save and avoid male teasing. But the circumstance in france is so different. Here if you wear a niqab, you attract the attention and become the center of focus, which is absolutely not appreciated by prevalent jurisprudence. There are sayings that if a woman tries to attract attention of male, through any means, are taboo. So, the same thing is going with woman in persistent to wear niqab.

If they want to follow Islamic rules as they interpret it, wearing that type of clothing completely expose them to male attention, and that is a thing which is not appreciated in dominant traditional Islamic fiqah or jurisprudence. It is far better to put on a simple Hijab and also avoid social disturbance and inconvenience for citizens of that country, because the main argument behind banning niqab in France was also security reasons.

Jawad Rahmani is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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