Following Dalia Mogahed’s rivetting interview on the much-loved Daily Show with Trevor Noah, the following clarification on her Facebook page has created further ripples on social media.
Regarding a woman covering her head, consider these verses:
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, for as much as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head because of the angels.”
No, not the Quran.
It is 1 Corinthians 11:7-11:11 in The Bible.
The problem I think is that many people have this understanding of the head cover (whether they know where it comes from or not), as literally a symbol of man’s authority over women and her inferiority, from the Judea-Christian tradition, and wrongly assume the same applies in Islam. It does not.
Here is the Quranic verses for comparison related to this topic:
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity: this will be most conducive to their purity – [and,] verily, God is aware of all that they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms [in public] beyond what may [decently] be apparent thereof; hence, let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms. And let them not display [more of] their charms to any but their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ Sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their womenfolk, or those whom they rightfully possess, or such male attendants as are beyond all sexual desire, or children that are as yet unaware of women’s nakedness; and let them not swing their legs [in walking] so as to draw attention to their hidden charms And [always], O you believers – all of you – turn unto God in repentance, so that you might attain to a happy state!” (The Quran 24:30-31)
The Quranic verses clearly are dealing with matters of modesty and privatizing the display of beauty, and begin by addressing men to behave respectfully toward women without condition. Nothing at all implies the head covering is a symbol of subjugation or inferiority to men.
Resources for seekers:
- Beyond Hijab: Modesty Amongst Women in Islam
- Modesty, Dress, and the Example of Sayyida Fatima
- Is Hijab Obligatory?
- Modesty in Islam – Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa
- Denying the Obligation of Wearing Hijab
- Muslim Women: Can’t We All Just Get Along?
- Pressured by my parents to take off my hijab: how should I respond?
- Can Parents Force Their Daughter to Wear the Hijab?