Monday, 25 July 2011

Why do Muslim Women Dress The Way They Do?

I have taken this photo and text from the display in Masjid Sultan, Singapore which I visited before I made my way home to Malaysia on 23 July 2011.

Faith is the more essential fashion
Fashion of Muslim women in the UK
One of the many styles of wearing head scarf in Singapore

Both men and women are expected to dress in a way that is dignified and honorable. For Muslims it is about having respectful interaction between male and female. Women are mothers, daughters and sisters. In Islam a great deal is placed upon the importance of respecting women.

"And tell the believing women to reduce some of their vision and guard their privacy and not expose their adornment except that which appears there of and to wrap their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands." - Holy Qur'an 24:31

In Islam the parameters for respectful dress for men and women are given by the All-Wise Creator. The fashion of the Muslim woman may differ according to individual taste, local culture and custom.

In Islam a woman has the right to be evaluated for the content of her character and not the form or shape of her body. Islam stands apart from any world view that demands that for women to get ahead she has to dress in a way that pleases men. Women have often had problems in the work force for not wearing clothing deemed appealing to men.

Interestingly enough the observant Muslim woman whom adorns the head scarf is giving a clear statement of her surrender to the commands of the Creator, and her status as a free woman. She is a woman whom is free from the dictates of men or a fashion magazine. In many societies where women struggle with poverty and debt they have to wear clothing that is degrading.

Observant Muslim women wear clothing that is dignified.

Source: Islamic Gallery at Masjid Sultan, Singapore
Masjid Sultan

Related:
Sura - 24 Light (Al-Nur)
[24:30] Tell the believing men that they shall subdue their eyes (and not stare at the women), and to maintain their chastity. This is purer for them. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything they do.
 
[24:31] And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary. They shall cover their chests, and shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands, their fathers, the fathers of their husbands, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, other women, the male servants or employees whose sexual drive has been nullified, or the children who have not reached puberty. They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies. All of you shall repent to GOD, O you believers, that you may succeed.

[24:60] The elderly women who do not expect to get married commit nothing wrong by relaxing their dress code, provided they do not reveal too much of their bodies. To maintain modesty is better for them. GOD is Hearer, Knower.

Sura - 33 The Parties (Al-Ahzab)

[33:55] The women may relax (their dress code) around their fathers, their sons, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, the other women, and their (female) servants. They shall reverence GOD. GOD witnesses all things.

Wikipedia on the Hijab issue

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