Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Veil, Self Expression, and Identity


Last month, I flew from Sana’a airport wearing a bright green scarf. On the plane I encountered the same awkward moment I always face: when and how do I take off my scarf? [In Yemen I cover my hair not because of any legal obligation, but because it is the custom].  

I scanned the area and then I did what I usually do, waited until it naturally slipped off and then I kept it on my shoulder until I left the plane. After that, I folded the scarf and put it in my suitcase. 

Some of my feminist friends say this is hypocritical and wish that I would just pick one way or the other.  But as a feminist myself, I don't see why I should only stick to one "look".  I think this flexibility is a testament to the degree that we, Middle Eastern women can adapt. 

As long as I do not change who I am, and just change the way I look, then why does it matter whether I wear a scarf or I don't.  But the reality is, to many people it does matter.  The scarf is not just any piece of cloth, it's one that carries a statement, an identity, a heritage and a history.  

Regardless of people's perceptions, I want to say loudly and clearly that with or without it, I am still me.


One person, different looks





14 comments:

Moe' Megalli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moe' Megalli said...

The veil does not mean anything, it's all about you and the way you carrying yourself. confidence and self respect is the most important thing for a lady not the veil.
as a matter of fact the veil was conditioned to some circumstances back then that no longer exist today. On the contrary, no one should wear it today due to the same reason they had to wear it for when they started it yesterday.

Maria... said...

Hello from Spain ( Ibiza ) . I Cant undersant why a beautiful woman like you usin a chador ...but of course I respet.
Have a nice day

Maria

Maria... said...

Hello from Spain ( Ibiza ) . I Cant undersant why a beautiful woman like you usin a chador ...but of course I respet.
Have a nice day

Maria

Only Dalya said...

Alsalam Alikom from Saudi Arabia ! Mashallah you looks so pretty .. And I liked the pic that you were scarf <3 Not abaya :)

Have a nice day ..

Asem Ismail said...

Salam..

I'm sorry but the take-home message from covering one's hair, is that if you're a Muslim woman then it is a requirement for you to don the hijab. These are not my view points, rather the religion's viewpoint and what Allah SWT says in the glorious Qura'an.

Peace to you all.

Moe' Megalli said...

@Asem Ismail
A muslim woman would not be a muslim unless she's wearing a Veil …?? is that what you are trying to say..??
do you know what was the purpose of the veil ..? do you know why women was ordered to wear a veil back then..?
you are ( AND A LOT OF OTHERS ) blindly inherited someone's else's point of view, and that is a disaster if you know.
let's read more of the Qur'an, let's try to understand it better, let's try to understand the whole sentence not just part of it. enough being just a simple follower that has no point of view of his own.

Wong said...

if im not wrong, i understood that your identity-expression that with or without hijab, u r still u. i guess people dont understand this point. you can still have your religion and express it freely or you see it as private. Some people take an extreme view on it and some more secular. Nonetheless the purpose of hijab, it is and has become the struggle for many young muslims to express and embrace their identity.

This is also bother me for many years that western feminists beleive that "veiled" is an obstacle to "free" the arab women. Arab women dont need the west to free them rather they are embraced and expressed and fight for their right.

Asem Ismail said...

@Moe' Megalli

If you are a Muslim then you believe that the Quran should stand the test of time..

so what do you say about this verse

( وقل للمؤمنات يغضضن من أبصارهن ويحفظن فروجهن ولا يبدين زينتهن إلا ما ظهر منها وليضربن بخمرهن على جيوبهن ولا يبدين زينتهن إلا لبعولتهن أو آبائهن أو آباء بعولتهن أو أبنائهن أو أبناء بعولتهن أو إخوانهن أو بني إخوانهن أو بني أخواتهن أو نسائهن أو ما ملكت أيمانهن أو التابعين غير أولي الإربة من الرجال أو الطفل الذين لم يظهروا على عورات النساء ولا يضربن بأرجلهن ليعلم ما يخفين من زينتهن وتوبوا إلى الله جميعا أيها المؤمنون لعلكم تفلحون ( 31 ) )

And the many ahadith...

Also, make sure you differentiate between the veil and the hijaab. I said the Hijaab. Also, drop the personal presumptions about me and let's have a mutual debate...

Asem Ismail said...

Also in surat alahzab verse 59 " o prophet tell your wife's and your
daughters and the wives of the believers to draw their cloaks all
over their bodies."

The matter is not historic it is in fact religious.

Moe Megalli said...

@ Asem Ismail
dear brother Asem.
I’ve had so many similar discussions like this one before، it took us nowhere... for the most part.
I believe there was intentionally and designedly misleading interpretation for our Quran, this misleading interpretation will never change, unless it serves the higher power as we’ve witnessed it happen in Saudi Arabia and Yemen for the past few years. people have no choice over there but to accept that without an interception whatsoever in order to live in peace. there are many organized individuals (( getting paid monthly )) out there misleading people and brainwashing them constantly to make sure we stay divided، feeble and powerless as we are today. and it’s all done under religious communities and religious names makes you wonder, who do they work for, who keeps supporting them and why ..??
there are an acceptable modern readings for our Quran , why do they always reject it ?
although it’s clear that modern interpretations offers a lucid guide to how much its was misunderstood.
anyhow I do apologize if you found my previous post somehow Inappropriate.
as an end to this very short discussion we shall all remember that each one of us is responsible on what he follows and believes , and there will be a judgment day.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
{ قَالَ ادْخُلُواْ فِي أُمَمٍ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِكُم مِّن الْجِنِّ وَالإِنسِ فِي النَّارِ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَتْ أُمَّةٌ لَّعَنَتْ أُخْتَهَا حَتَّى إِذَا ادَّارَكُواْ فِيهَا جَمِيعاً قَالَتْ أُخْرَاهُمْ لأُولاَهُمْ رَبَّنَا هَـؤُلاء أَضَلُّونَا فَآتِهِمْ عَذَاباً ضِعْفاً مِّنَ النَّارِ قَالَ لِكُلٍّ ضِعْفٌ وَلَـكِن لاَّ تَعْلَمُونَ }
please have a look at this article:
http://goo.gl/arohA

Moe Megalli said...

@ Asem Ismail
dear brother Asem.
I’ve had so many similar discussions like this one before، it took us nowhere... for the most part.
I believe there was intentionally and designedly misleading interpretation for our Quran, this misleading interpretation will never change, unless it serves the higher power as we’ve witnessed it happen in Saudi Arabia and Yemen for the past few years. people have no choice over there but to accept that without an interception whatsoever in order to live in peace. there are many organized individuals (( getting paid monthly )) out there misleading people and brainwashing them constantly to make sure we stay divided، feeble and powerless as we are today. and it’s all done under religious communities and religious names makes you wonder, who do they work for, who keeps supporting them and why ..??
there are an acceptable modern readings for our Quran , why do they always reject it ?
although it’s clear that modern interpretations offers a lucid guide to how much its was misunderstood.
anyhow I do apologize if you found my previous post somehow Inappropriate.
as an end to this very short discussion we shall all remember that each one of us is responsible on what he follows and believes , and there will be a judgment day.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
{ قَالَ ادْخُلُواْ فِي أُمَمٍ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِكُم مِّن الْجِنِّ وَالإِنسِ فِي النَّارِ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَتْ أُمَّةٌ لَّعَنَتْ أُخْتَهَا حَتَّى إِذَا ادَّارَكُواْ فِيهَا جَمِيعاً قَالَتْ أُخْرَاهُمْ لأُولاَهُمْ رَبَّنَا هَـؤُلاء أَضَلُّونَا فَآتِهِمْ عَذَاباً ضِعْفاً مِّنَ النَّارِ قَالَ لِكُلٍّ ضِعْفٌ وَلَـكِن لاَّ تَعْلَمُونَ }
please have a look at this article:
http://goo.gl/arohA

WomanfromYemen said...

Dear Maria, what i was trying to say is with or without the scarf we are the same people. i was trying to say that we can use it in different ways and it can be a beautiful thing when we want to use it that way.

Moe Megalli, thank you very much for your explanations.

and Wong, that's exactly the intention of the post.

Shadi Hussien said...

I like the way you write ..I can't find the adjective to describe it but i just can feel it.

about the post , we - in arab world - judge based on what we see , we don't make an effort to think of the person as a soul more than a look .

good topic , and great blog :)